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SISTER CARRIE 



Sister Carrie 

By 

Theodore Dreiser 




NEW YORK 

Doubleday, Page & Co. 
1900 



Copyright, 1900, by 
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO. 



TO MY FRIEND 

ARTHUR HENRY 

WHOSE STEADFAST IDEALS AND SERENE 
DEVOTION TO TRUTH AND BEAUTY 
HAVE SERVED TO LIGHTEN THE METHOD 
AND STRENGTHEN THE PURPOSE OF 
THIS VOLUME. 






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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2012 with funding from 
Duke University Libraries 



http://archive.org/details/sistercarrie01drei 



SISTER CARRIE 



SISTER CARRIE 

CHAPTER I 

THE MAGNET ATTRACTING: A WAIF AMID FORCES 

When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train 
for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a 
cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a 
paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing 
her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in 
Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money. It was in 
August, 1889. She was eighteen years of age, bright, 
timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. 
Whatever touch of regret at parting characterised her 
thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being 
given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell kiss, 
a touch in her throat when the cars clacked by the flour 
mill where her father worked by the day, a pathetic sigh 
as the familiar green environs of the village passed in 
review, and the threads Which bound her so lightly to 
girlhood and home were irretrievably broken. 

To be sure there was always the next station, where one 
might descend and return. There was the great city, 
bound more closely by these very trains which came up 
daily. Columbia City was not so very far away, even 
once she was in Chicago. What, pray, is a few hours — 
a few hundred miles? She looked at the little slip bear- 
ing her sister's address and wondered. She gazed at the 



2 SISTER CARRIE 

green landscape, now passing in swift review, until her 
swifter thoughts replaced its impression with vague con- 
jectures of what Chicago might be. 

When a girl leaves her home at eighteen, she does one 
of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and 
becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan 
standard of virtue and becomes worse. Of an inter- 
mediate balance, under the circumstances, there is no 
possibility. The city has its cunning wiles, no less than 
the infinitely smaller and more human tempter. There 
are large forces which allure with all the soulfulness of 
expression possible in the most cultured human. The 
gleam of a thousand lights is often as effective as the per- 
suasive light in a wooing and fascinating eye. Half the 
undoing of the unsophisticated and natural mind is ac- 
complished by forces wholly superhuman. A blare of 
sound, a roar of life, a vast array of human hives, appeal 
to the astonished senses in equivocal terms. Without a 
counsellor at hand to whisper cautious interpretations, 
What falsehoods may not these things breathe into the 
unguarded ear! Unrecognised for what they are, their 
beauty, like music, too often relaxes, then weakens, then 
perverts the simpler human perceptions. 

Caroline, or Sister Carrie, as she had been half affec- 
tionately termed by the family, was possessed of a mind 
rudimentary in its power of observation and analysis. 
Self-interest with her was high, but not strong. It was, 
nevertheless, her guiding characteristic. Warm with the 
fancies of youth, pretty with the insipid prettiness of the 
formative period, possessed of a figure promising eventual 
shapeliness and an eye alight with certain native intelli- 
gence, she was a fair example of the middle American 
class — two generations removed from the emigrant. 
Books were beyond her interest — knowledge a sealed 
book. In the intuitive graces she was still crude. She 



SISTER CARRIE 3 

could scarcely toss her head gracefully. Her hands were 
almost ineffectual. The feet, though small, were set 
flatly. And yet she was interested in her charms, quick 
to understand the keener pleasures of life, ambitious to 
gain in material things. A half-equipped little knight she 
was, venturing to reconnoitre the mysterious city and 
dreaming wild dreams of some vague, far-off supremacy, 
which should make it prey and subject — the proper peni- 
tent, grovelling at a woman's slipper. 

" That," said a voice in her ear, " is one of the prettiest 
little resorts in Wisconsin." 

" Is it? " she answered nervously. 

The train was just pulling out of Waukesha. For some 
time she had been conscious of a man behind. She felt 
him observing her mass of hair. He had been fidgetting, 
and with natural intuition she felt a certain interest grow- 
ing in that quarter. Her maidenly reserve, and a certain 
sense of what was conventional under the circumstances, 
called her to forestall and deny this familiarity, but the 
daring and magnetism of the individual, born of past ex- 
periences and triumphs, prevailed. She answered. 

He leaned forward to put his elbows upon the back of 
her seat and proceeded to make himself volubly agreeable. 

" Yes, that is a great resort for Chicago people. The 
hotels are swell. You are not familiar with this part of 
the country, are you?" 

" Oh, yes, I am," answered Carrie. " That is, I live at 
Columbia City. I have never been through here, though." 

"And so this is your first visit to Chicago," he observed. 

All the time she was conscious of certain features out 
of the side of her eye. Flush, colourful cheeks, a light 
moustache, a grey fedora hat. She now turned and looked 
upon him in full, the instincts of self-protection and co- 
quetry mingling confusedly in her brain. 

" I didn't say that," she said. 



4 SISTER CARRIE 

" Oh," he answered, in a very pleasing way and with 
an assumed air of mistake, " I thought you did." 

Here was a type of the travelling canvasser for a manu- 
facturing house — a class which at that time was first 
being dubbed by the slang of the day " drummers." He 
came within the meaning of a still newer term, which had 
sprung into general use among Americans in 1880, and 
which concisely expressed the thought of one whose dress 
or manners are calculated to elicit the admiration of sus- 
ceptible young women — a " masher." His suit was of a 
striped and crossed pattern of brown wool, new at that 
time, but since become familiar as a business suit. The 
low crotch of the vest revealed a stiff shirt bosom of white 
and pink stripes. From his coat sleeves protruded a pair 
of linen cuffs of the same pattern, fastened with large, 
gold plate buttons, set with the common yellow agates 
known as " cat's-eyes." His fingers bore several rings — 
one, the ever-enduring heavy seal — and from his vest 
dangled a neat gold watch chain, from which was sus- 
pended the secret insignia of the Order of Elks. The 
whole suit was rather tight-fitting, and was finished off 
with heavy-soled tan shoes, highly polished, and the grey 
fedora hat. He was, for the order of intellect represented, 
attractive, and whatever he had to recommend him, you 
may be sure was not lost upon Carrie, in this, her first 
glance. 

Lest this order of individual should permanently pass, 
let me put down some of the most striking characteristics 
of his most successful manner and method. Good clothes, 
of course, were the first essential, the things without 
which he was nothing. A strong physical nature, actu- 
ated by a keen desire for the feminine, was the next. A 
mind free of any consideration of the problems or 
forces of the world and actuated not by greed, but an 
insatiable love of variable pleasure. His method was 



SISTER CARRIE 5 

always simple. Its principal element was daring, backed, 
of course, by an intense desire and admiration for the 
sex. Let him meet with a young woman twice and 
he would straighten her necktie for her and perhaps ad- 
dress her by her first name. In the great department 
stores he was at his ease. If he caught the attention of 
some young woman while waiting for the cash boy to 
come back with his change, he would find out her name, 
her favourite flower, where a note would reach her, and 
perhaps pursue the delicate task of friendship until it 
proved unpromising, when it would be relinquished. He 
would do very well with more pretentious women, though 
the burden of expense was a slight deterrent. Upon en- 
tering a parlour car, for instance, he would select a chair 
next to the most promising bit of femininity and soon 
enquire if she cared to have the shade lowered. Before 
the train cleared the yards he would have the porter bring 
her a footstool. At the next lull in his conversational 
progress he would find her something to read, and from 
then on, by dint of compliment gently insinuated, per- 
sonal narrative, exaggeration and service, he would win 
her tolerance, and, mayhap, regard. 

A woman should some day write the complete philos- 
ophy of clothes. No matter how young, it is one of the 
things she wholly comprehends. There is an indescrib- 
ably faint line in the matter of man's apparel which some- 
how divides for her those who are worth glancing at 
and those who are not. Once an individual has passed 
this faint line on the way downward he will get no glance 
from her. There is another line at; which the dress of a 
man will cause her to study her own. This line the indi- 
vidual at her elbow now marked for Carrie. She became 
conscious of an inequality. Her own plain blue dress, 
with its black cotton tape trimmings, now seemed to her 
shabby. She felt the worn state of her shoes. 



6 SISTER CARRIE 

" Let's see," he went on, " I know quite a number of 
people in your town. Morgenroth the clothier and Gib- 
son the dry goods man." 

" Oh, do you? " she interrupted, aroused by memories 
of longings their s'how windows had cost her. 

At last he had a clew to her interest, and followed it 
deftly. In a few minutes he had come about into her 
seat. He talked of sales of clothing, his travels, Chicago, 
and the amusements of that city. 

" If you are going there, you will enjoy it immensely. 
Have you relatives? " 

" I am going to visit my sister," she explained. 

" You want to see Lincoln Park," he said, " and Michi- 
gan Boulevard. They are putting up great buildings 
there. It's a second New York — great. So much to see 
— theatres, crowds, fine houses — oh, you'll like that." 

There was a little ache in her fancy of all he described. 
Her insignificance in the presence of so much magnifi- 
cence faintly affected her. She realised that hers was not 
to be a round of pleasure, and yet there was something 
promising in all the material prospect he set forth. There 
was something satisfactory in the attention of this indi- 
vidual with his good clothes. She could not help smiling 
as he told her of some popular actress of whom she re- 
minded him. She was not silly, and yet attention of this 
sort had its weight. 

" You will be in Chicago some little time, won't you ? " 
he observed at one turn of the now easy conversation. 

" I don't know," said Carrie vaguely — a flash vision of 
the possibility of her not securing employment rising in 
her mind. 

"Several weeks, anyhow," he said, looking steadily into 
her eyes. 

There was much more passing now than the mere 
words indicated. He recognised the indescribable thing 



SISTER CARRIE 7 

that made up for fascination and beauty in her. She 
realised that she was of interest to him from the one 
standpoint which a woman both delights in and fears. 
Her manner was simple, though for the very reason that 
she had not yet learned the many little affectations with 
which women conceal their true feelings. Some things 
she did appeared bold. A clever companion — had she 
ever had one — would have warned her never to look a 
man in the eyes so steadily. 

" Why do you ask? " she said. 

" Well, I'm going to be there several weeks. I'm going 
to study stock at our place and get new samples. I might 
show you 'round." 

" I don't know whether you can or not. I mean I don't 
know whether I can. I shall be living with my sister, 
and " 

" Well, if she minds, we'll fix that." He took out his 
pencil and a little pocket note-book as if it were all settled. 
" What is your address there? " 

She fumbled her purse which contained the address 
slip. 

He reached down in his hip pocket and took out a fat 
purse. It was filled with slips of paper, some mileage 
books, a roll of greenbacks. It impressed her deeply. 
Such a purse had never been carried by any one attentive 
to her. Indeed, an experienced traveller, a brisk man of 
the world, had never come within such close range before. 
The purse, the shiny tan shoes, the smart new suit, and 
the air with which he did things, built up for her a dim 
world of fortune, of which he was the centre. It disposed 
her pleasantly toward all he might do. 

He took out a neat business card, on which was en- 
graved Bartlett, Caryoe & Company, and down in the left- 
hand corner, Chas. H. Drouet. 

" That's me," he said, putting the card in her hand and 



8 SISTER CARRIE 

touching his name. " It's pronounced Drew-eh. Our 
family was French, on my father's side." 

She looked at it while he put up his purse. Then he got 
out a letter from a bunch in his coat pocket. " This is the 
house I travel for," he went on, pointing to a picture on 
it, " corner of State and Lake." There was pride in his 
voice. He felt that it was something to be connected 
with such a place, and he made her feel that way. 

"What is your address?" he began again, fixing his 
pencil to write. 

She looked at his hand. 

" Carrie Meeber," she said slowly. " Three hundred 
and fifty-four West Van Buren Street, care S. C. Hanson." 

He wrote it carefully down and got out the purse again. 
"You'll be at home if I come around Monday night?" 
he said. 

" I think so," she answered. 

How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of 
the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, 
chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes. 
Here were these two, bandying little phrases, drawing 
purses, looking at cards, and both unconscious of how in- 
articulate all their real feelings were. Neither was wise 
enough to be sure of the working of the mind of the 
other. He could not tell how his luring succeeded. She 
could not realise that she was drifting, until he secured 
her address. Now she felt that she had yielded some- 
thing — he, that he had gained a victory. Already they 
felt that they were somehow associated. Already he took 
control in directing the conversation. His words were 
easy. Her manner was relaxed. 

They were nearing Chicago. Signs were everywhere 
numerous. Trains flashed by them. Across wide 
stretches of flat, open prairie they could see lines of tele- 
graph poles stalking across the fields toward the great 



SISTER CARRIE 9 

city. Far away were indications of suburban towns, some 
big smoke-stacks towering high in the air. 

Frequently there were two-story frame houses stand- 
ing out in the open fields, without fence or trees, lone out- 
posts of the approaching army of homes. 

To the child, the genius with imagination, or the wholly 
untravelled, the approach to a great city for the first time 
is a wonderful thing. Particularly if it be evening — that 
mystic period between the glare and gloom of the world 
when life is changing from one sphere or condition to an- 
other. Ah, the promise of the night. What does it not 
hold for the weary! What old illusion of hope is not here 
forever repeated! Says the soul of the toiler to itself, " I 
shall soon be free. I shall be in the ways and the hosts 
of the merry. The streets, the lamps, the lighted cham- 
ber set for dining, are for me. The theatre, the halls, the 
parties, the ways of rest and the paths of song — these are 
mine in the night." Though all humanity be still en- 
closed in the shops, the thrill runs abroad. It is in the 
air. The dullest feel something which they may not al- 
ways express or describe. It is the lifting of the burden 
of toil. 

Sister Carrie gazed out of the window. Her com- 
panion, affected by her wonder, so contagious are all 
things, felt anew some interest in the city and pointed out 
its marvels. 

" This is Northwest Chicago," said Drouet. " This is 
the Chicago River," and he pointed to a little muddy 
creek, crowded with the huge masted wanderers from far- 
off waters nosing the black-posted banks. With a puff, 
a clang, and a clatter of rails it was gone. " Chicago is 
getting to be a great town," he went on. " It's a wonder. 
You'll find lots to see here." 

She did not hear this very well. Her heart was troubled 
by a kind of terror. The fact that she was alone, away 



IO SISTER CARRIE 

from home, rushing into a great sea of life and endeavour, 
began to tell. She could not help but feel a little choked 
for breath — a little sick as her heart beat so fast. She half 
closed her eyes and tried to think it was nothing, that 
Columbia City was only a little way off. 

" Chicago! Chicago! " called the brakeman, slamming 
open the door. They were rushing into a more crowded 
yard, alive with the clatter and clang of life. She began 
to gather up her poor little grip and closed her hand firmly 
upon her purse. Drouet arose, kicked his legs to 
straighten his trousers, and seized his clean yellow grip. 

" I suppose your people will be here to meet you? " he 
said. " Let me carry your grip." 

" Oh, no," she said. " I'd rather you wouldn't. I'd 
rather you wouldn't be with me when I meet my sister." 

" All right," he said in all kindness. " I'll be near, 
though, in case she isn't here, and take you out there 
safely." 

" You're so kind," said Carrie, feeling the goodness of 
such attention in her strange situation. 

" Chicago ! " called the brakeman, drawing the word 
out long. They were under a great shadowy train shed, 
where the lamps were already beginning to shine out, with 
passenger cars all about and the train moving at a snail's 
pace. The people in the car were all up and crowding 
about the door. 

" Well, here we are," said Drouet, leading the way to 
the door. " Good-bye, till I see you Monday." 

" Good-bye," she answered, taking his proffered 
hand. 

" Remember, I'll be looking till you find your sister." 

She smiled into his eyes. 

They filed out, and he affected to take no notice of her. 
A lean-faced, rather commonplace woman recognised 
Carrie on the platform and hurried forward. 



SISTER CARRIE II 

" Why, Sister Carrie! " she began, and there was a per- 
functory embrace of welcome. 

Carrie realised the change of affectional atmosphere 
at once. Amid all the maze, uproar, and novelty she felt 
cold reality taking her by the hand. No world of light 
and merriment. No round of amusement. Her sister 
carried with her most of the grimness of shift and toil. 

"Why, how are all the folks at home?" she began; 
" how is father, and mother? " 

Carrie answered, but was looking away. Down the 
aisle, toward the gate leading into the waiting-room and 
the street, stood Drouet. He was looking back. When 
he saw that she saw him and was safe with her sister he 
turned to go, sending back the shadow of a smile. Only 
Carrie saw it. She felt something lost to her when he 
moved away. When he disappeared she felt his absence 
thoroughly. With her sister she was much alone, a lone 
figure in a tossing, thoughtless sea. 



CHAPTER II 

WHAT POVERTY THREATENED : OF GRANITE AND BRASS 

Minnie's flat, as the one-floor resident apartments were 
then being called, was in a part of West Van Buren Street 
inhabited by families of labourers and clerks, men who 
had come, and were still coming, with the rush of popu- 
lation pouring in at the rate of 50,000 a year. It was on 
the third floor, the front windows looking down into the 
street, where, at night, the lights of grocery stores were 
shining and children were playing. To Carrie, the sound 
of the little bells upon the horse-cars, as they tinkled in 
and out of hearing, was as pleasing as it was novel. She 
gazed into the lighted street when Minnie brought her 
into the front room, and wondered at the sounds, the 
movement, the murmur of the vast city which stretched 
for miles and miles in every direction. 

Mrs. Hanson, after the first greetings were over, gave 
Carrie the baby and proceeded to get supper. Her hus- 
band asked a few questions and sat down to read the 
evening paper. He was a silent man, American born, of 
a Swede father, and now employed as a cleaner of refrig- 
erator cars at the stock-yards. To him the presence or 
absence of his wife's sister was a matter of indifference. 
Her personal appearance did not affect him one way or 
the other. His one observation to the point was con- 
cerning the chances of work in Chicago. 

" It's a big place," he said. " You can get in some- 
where in a few days. Everybody does." 



SISTER CARRIE 



13 



It had been tacitly understood beforehand that she was 
to get work and pay her board. He was of a clean, sav- 
ing- disposition, and had already paid a number of monthly 
instalments on two lots far out on the West Side. His 
ambition was some day to build a house on them. 

In the interval which marked the preparation of the 
meal Carrie found time to study the flat. She had some 
slight gift of observation and that sense, so rich in every 
woman — intuition. 

She felt the" drag of a lean and narrow life. The walls 
of the rooms were discordantly papered. The floors were 
covered with matting and the hall laid with a thin rag 
carpet. One could see that the furniture was of that poor, 
hurriedly patched together quality sold by the instalment 
houses. 

She sat with Minnie, in the kitchen, holding the baby 
until it began to cry. Then she walked and sang to it, 
until Hanson, disturbed in his reading, came and took it. 
A pleasant side to his nature came out here. He was 
patient. One could see that he was very much wrapped 
up in his offspring. 

" Now, now," he said, walking. " There, there," and 
there was a certain Swedish accent noticeable in his voice. 

"You'll want to see the city first, won't you?" said 
Minnie, when they were eating. " Well, we'll go out 
Sunday and see Lincoln Park." 

Carrie noticed that Hanson had said nothing to this. 
He seemed to be thinking of something else. 

" Well," she said, " I think I'll look around to-morrow. 
I've got Friday and Saturday, and it won't be any trouble. 
Which way is the business part ? " 

Minnie began to explain, but her husband took this 
part of the conversation to himself. 

" It's that way," he said, pointing east. " That's east." 
Then he went off into the longest speech he had yet in- 



14 SISTER CARRIE 

dulged in, concerning the lay of Chicago. " You'd bet- 
ter look in those big manufacturing houses along Frank- 
lin Street and just the other side of the river," he con- 
cluded. " Lots of girls work there. You could get home 
easy, too. It isn't very far." 

Carrie nodded and asked her sister about the neigh- 
bourhood. The latter talked in a subdued tone, telling 
the little she knew about it, while Hanson concerned him- 
self with the baby. Finally he jumped up and handed the 
child to his wife. 

" I've got to get up early in the morning, so I'll go to 
bed," and off he went, disappearing into the dark little 
bedroom off the hall, for the night. 

" He works way down at the stock-yards," explained 
Minnie, " so he's got to get up at half-past five." 

"What time do you get up to get breakfast?" asked 
Carrie. 

" At about twenty minutes of five." 

Together they finished the labour of the day, Carrie 
washing the dishes while Minnie undressed the baby and 
put it to bed. Minnie's manner was one of trained in- 
dustry, and Carrie could see that it was a steady round of 
toil with her. 

She began to see that her relations with Drouet would 
have to be abandoned. He could not come here. She 
read from the manner of Hanson, in the subdued air of 
Minnie, and, indeed, the whole atmosphere of the flat, a 
settled opposition to anything save a conservative round 
of toil. If Hanson sat every evening in the front room 
and read his paper, if he went to bed at nine, and Minnie 
a little later, what would they expect of her? She saw 
that she would first need to get work and establish herself 
on a paying basis before she could think of having com- 
pany of any sort. Her little flirtation with Drouet seemed 
now an extraordinary thing. 



SISTER CARRIE 1 5 

" No," she said to herself, " he can't come here." 

She asked Minnie for ink and paper, which were upon 
the mantel in the dining-room, and when the latter had 
gone to bed at ten, got out Drouet's card and wrote him. 

" I cannot have you call on me here. You will have to 
wait until you hear from me again. My sister's place is 
so small." 

She troubled herself over what else to put in the letter. 
She wanted to make some reference to their relations 
upon the train, but was too timid. She concluded by 
thanking him for his kindness in a crude way, then puz- 
zled over the formality of signing her name, and finally 
decided upon the severe, winding up with a " Very truly," 
which she subsequently changed to " Sincerely." She 
sealed and addressed the letter, and going in the front 
room, the alcove of which contained her bed, drew the 
one small rocking-chair up to the open window, and sat 
looking out upon the night and streets in silent wonder. 
Finally, wearied by her own reflections, she began to 
grow dull in her chair, and feeling the need of sleep, ar- 
ranged her clothing for the night and went to bed. 

When she awoke at eight the next morning, Hanson 
had gone. Her sister was busy in the dining-room, which 
was also the sitting-room, sewing. She worked, after 
dressing, to arrange a little breakfast for herself, and then 
advised with Minnie as to which way to look. The latter 
had changed considerably since Carrie had seen her. She 
was now a thin, though rugged, woman of twenty-seven, 
with ideas of life coloured by her husband's, and fast hard- 
ening into narrower conceptions of pleasure and duty than 
had ever been hers in a thoroughly circumscribed youth. 
She had invited Carrie, not because she longed for her 
presence, but because the latter was dissatisfied at home, 
and could probably get work and pay her board here. 
She was pleased to see her in a way, but reflected her hus- 



1 6 SISTER CARRIE 

band's point of view in the matter of work. Anything 
was good enough so long as it paid — say, five dollars a 
week to begin with. A shop girl was the destiny pre- 
figured for the newcomer. She would get in one of the 
great shops and do well enough until — well, until some- 
thing happened. Neither of them knew exactly what. 
They did not figure on promotion. They did not exactly 
count on marriage. Things would go on, though, in a 
dim kind of way until the better thing would eventuate, 
and Carrie would be rewarded for coming and toiling in 
the city. It was under such auspicious circumstances 
that she started out this morning to look for work. 

Before following her in her round of seeking, let us 
look at the sphere in which her future was to lie. In 1889 
Chicago had the peculiar qualifications of growth which 
made such adventuresome pilgrimages even on the part 
of young girls plausible. Its many and growing com- 
mercial opportunities gave it widespread fame, which 
made of it a giant magnet, drawing to itself, from all quar- 
ters, the hopeful and the hopeless — those who had their 
fortune yet to make and those whose fortunes and affairs 
had reached a disastrous climax elsewhere. It was a city 
of over 500,000, with the ambition, the daring, the activity 
of a metropolis of a million. Its streets and houses were 
already scattered over an area of seventy-five square 
miles. Its population was not so much thriving upon 
established commerce as upon the industries which pre- 
pared for the arrival of others. The sound of the ham- 
mer engaged upon the erection of new structures was 
everywhere heard. Great industries were moving in. 
The huge railroad corporations which had long before 
recognised the prospects of the place had seized upon 
vast tracts of land for transfer and shipping purposes. 
Street-car lines had been extended far out into the open 
country in anticipation of rapid growth. The city had 



SISTER CARRIE iy 

laid miles and miles of streets and sewers through regions 
where, perhaps, one solitary house stood out alone — a 
pioneer of the populous ways to be. There were regions 
open to the sweeping winds and rain, which were yet 
lighted throughout the night with long, blinking lines of 
gas-lamps, fluttering in the wind. Narrow board walks 
extended out, passing here a house, and there a store, 
at far intervals, eventually ending on the open prairie. 

In the central portion was the vast wholesale and shop- 
ping district, to which the uninformed seeker for work 
usually drifted. It was a characteristic of Chicago then, 
and one not generally shared by other cities, that indi- 
vidual firms of any pretension occupied individual build- 
ings. The presence of ample ground made this possible. 
It gave an imposing appearance to most of the wholesale 
houses, whose offices were upon the ground floor and in 
plain view of the street. The large plates of window glass, 
now so common, were then rapidly coming into use, and 
gave to the ground floor offices a distinguished and pros- 
perous look. The casual wanderer could see as he passed 
a polished array of office fixtures, much frosted glass, 
clerks hard at work, and genteel business men in "nobby" 
suits and clean linen lounging about or sitting in groups. 
Polished brass or nickel signs at the square stone en- 
trances announced the firm and the nature of the business 
in rather neat and reserved terms. The entire metropoli- 
tan centre possessed a high and mighty air calculated to 
overawe and abash the common applicant, and to make 
the gulf between poverty and success seem both wide and 
deep. 

Into this important, commercial region the timid Carrie 
went. She walked east along Van Buren Street through 
a region of lessening importance, until it deteriorated into 
a mass of shanties and coal-yards, and finally verged upon 
the river. She walked bravely forward, led by an honest 



1 8 SISTER CARRIE 

desire to find employment and delayed at every step by 
the interest of the unfolding scene, and a sense of help- 
lessness amid so much evidence of power and force which 
she did not understand. These vast buildings, what were 
they? These strange energies and huge interests, for 
what purposes were they there? She could have under- 
stood the meaning of a little stone-cutter's yard at Colum- 
bia City, carving little pieces of marble for individual use, 
but when the yards of some huge stone corporation came 
into view, rilled wit* spur tracks and flat cars, transpierced 
by docks from the river and traversed overhead by im- 
mense trundling cranes of wood and steel, it lost all sig- 
nificance in her little world. 

It was so with the vast railroad yards, with the crowded 
array of vessels she saw at the river, and the huge factories 
over the way, lining the water's edge. Through the open 
windows she could see the figures of men and women in 
working aprons, moving busily about. The great streets 
were wall-lined mysteries to her; the vast offices, strange 
mazes which concerned far-off individuals of importance. 
She could only think of people connected with them as 
counting money, dressing magnificently, and riding in 
carriages. What they dealt in, how they laboured, to 
what end it all came, she had only the vaguest concep- 
tion. It was all wonderful, all vast, all far removed, and 
she sank in spirit inwardly and fluttered feebly at the 
heart as she thought of entering any one of these mighty 
concerns and asking for something to do — something 
that she could do — anything. 



CHAPTER III 

WE QUESTION OF FORTUNE: FOUR-FIFTY A WEEK 

Once across the river and into the wholesale district, 
she glanced about her for some likely door at which to 
apply. As she contemplated the wide windows and im- 
posing signs, she became conscious of being gazed upon 
and understood for what she was — a wage-seeker. She 
'had never done this thing before, and lacked courage. 
To avoid a certain indefinable shame she felt at being 
caught spying about for a position, she quickened her 
steps and assumed an air of indifference supposedly com- 
mon to one upon an errand. In this way she passed many 
manufacturing and wholesale houses without once glan- 
cing in. At last, after several blocks of walking, she felt 
that this would not do, and began to look about again, 
though without relaxing her pace. A little way on she 
saw a great door which, for some reason, attracted her 
attention. It was ornamented by a small brass sign, and 
seemed to be the entrance to a vast hive of six or seven 
floors. " Perhaps," she thought, " they may want some 
one," and crossed over to enter. When she came within 
a score of feet of the desired goal, she saw through the 
window a young man in a grey checked suit. That he 
^had anything to do with the concern, she could not tell, 
but because he happened to be looking in her direction 
her weakening heart misgave her and she hurried by, too 
overcome with shame to enter. Over the way stood a 
great six-story structure, labelled Storm and King, which 



20 SISTER CARRIE 

she viewed with rising hope. It was a wholesale dry- 
goods concern and employed women. She could see them 
moving about now and then upon the upper floors. This 
place she decided to enter, no matter what. She crossed 
over and walked directly toward the entrance. As she 
did so, two men came out and paused in the door. A tele- 
graph messenger in blue dashed past her and up the few 
steps that led to the entrance and disappeared. Several 
pedestrians out of the hurrying throng which filled the 
sidewalks passed about her as she paused, hesitating. She 
looked helplessly around, and then, seeing herself ob- 
served, retreated. It was too difficult a task. She could 
not go past them. 

So severe a defeat told sadly upon her nerves. Her feet 
carried her mechanically forward, every foot of her prog- 
ress being a satisfactory portion of a flight which she 
gladly made. Block after block passed by. Upon street- 
lamps at the various corners she read names such as Madi- 
son, Monroe, La Salle, Clark, Dearborn, State, and still 
she went, her feet beginning to tire upon the broad stone 
flagging. She was pleased in part that the streets were 
bright and clean. The morning sun, shining down with 
steadily increasing warmth, made the shady side of the 
streets pleasantly cool. She looked at the blue sky over- 
head with more realisation of its charm than had ever 
come to her before. 

Her cowardice began to trouble her in a way. She 
turned back, resolving to hunt up Storm and King and 
enter. On the way she encountered a great wholesale 
shoe company, through the broad plate windows of which 
she saw an enclosed executive department, hidden b^ 
frosted glass. Without this enclosure, but just within 
the street entrance, sat a grey-haired gentleman at a small 
table, with a large open ledger before him. She walked 
by this institution several times hesitating, but, finding 



SISTER CARRIE 21 

herself unobserved, faltered past the screen door and 
stood humbly waiting. 

" Well, young lady," observed the old gentleman, look- 
ing at her somewhat kindly, " what is it you wish? " 

" I am, that is, do you — I mean, do you need any help?" 
she stammered. 

" Not just at present," he answered smiling. " Not 
just at present. Come in some time next week. Occa- 
sionally we need some one." 

She received the answer in silence and backed awk- 
wardly out. The pleasant nature of her reception rather 
astonished her. She had expected that it would be more 
difficult, that something cold and harsh would be said — 
she knew not what. That she had not been put to shame 
and made to feel her unfortunate position, seemed re- 
markable. 

Somewhat encouraged, she ventured into' another large 
structure. It was a clothing company, and more people 
were in evidence — well-dressed men of forty and more, 
surrounded by brass railings. 

An office boy approached her. 

" Who is it you wish to see? " he asked. 

" I want to see the manager," she said. 

He ran away and spoke to one of a group of three men 
who were conferring together. One of these came to- 
wards her. 

" Well? " he said coldly. The greeting drove all cour- 
age from her at once. 

" Do you need any help? " she stammered. 

" No," he replied abruptly, and turned upon his heel. 

She went foolishly out, the office boy deferentially 
swinging the door for her, and gladly sank into the ob- 
scuring crowd. It was a severe setback to her recently 
pleased mental state. 

•Now she walked quite aimlessly for a time, turning here 



22 SISTER CARRIE 

and there, seeing one great company after another, but 
finding no courage to prosecute her single inquiry. High 
noon came, and with it hunger. She hunted out an un- 
assuming restaurant and entered, but was disturbed to 
find that the prices were exorbitant for the size of her 
purse. A bowl of soup was all that she could afford, and, 
with this quickly eaten, she went out again. It restored 
her strength somewhat and made her moderately bold to 
pursue the search. 

In walking a few blocks to fix upon some probable 
place, she again encountered the firm of Storm and King, 
and this time managed to get in. Some gentlemen were 
conferring close at hand, but took no notice of her. She 
was left standing, gazing nervously upon the floor. When 
the limit of her distress had been nearly reached, she was 
beckoned to by a man at one of the many desks within the 
near-by railing. 

" Who is it you wish to see? " he inquired. 

" Why, any one, if you please," she answered. " I am 
looking for something to do." 

" Oh, you want to see Mr. McManus," he returned. 
" Sit down," and he pointed to a chair against the neigh- 
bouring wall. He went on leisurely writing, until after a 
time a short, stout gentleman came in from the street. 

" Mr. McManus," called the man at the desk, " this 
young woman wants to see you." 

The short gentleman turned about towards Carrie, and 
she arose and came forward. 

" What can I do for you, miss ? " he inquired, survey- 
ing her curiously. 

" I want to know if I can get a position," she inquired. 

" As what? " he asked. 

" Not as anything in particular," she faltered. 

" Have you ever had any experience in the wholesale 
dry goods business? " he questioned. 



SISTER CARRIE 23 

" No, sir/' she replied. 

" Are you a stenographer or typewriter? " 

" No, sir." 

" Well, we haven't anything here," he said. " We em- 
ploy only experienced help." 

She began to step backward toward the door, when 
something about her plaintive face attracted him. 

" Have you ever worked at anything before?" he in- 
quired. 

" No, sir," she said. 

" Well, now, it's hardly possible that you would get 
anything to do in a wholesale house of this kind. Have 
you tried the department stores?" 

She acknowledged that she had not. 

" Well, if I were you," he said, looking at her rather 
genially, " I would try the department stores. They often 
need young women as clerks." 

" Thank you," she said, her whole nature relieved by 
this spark of friendly interest. 

" Yes," he said, as she moved toward the door, " you 
try the department stores," and off he went. 

At that time the department store was in its earliest 
form of successful operation, and there were not many. 
The first three in the United States, established about 
1884, were in Chicago. Carrie was familiar with the 
names of several through the advertisements in the 
" Daily News," and now proceeded to seek them. The 
words of Mr. McManus had somehow managed to restore 
her courage, which had fallen low, and she dared to hope 
that this new line would offer her something. Some time 
she spent in wandering up and down, thinking to en- 
counter the buildings by chance, so readily is the mind, 
bent upon prosecuting a hard but needful errand, eased 
by that self-deception which the semblance of search, 
without the reality, gives. At last she inquired of a police 



24 SISTER CARRIE 

officer, and was directed to proceed " two blocks up," 
where she would find " The Fair." 

The nature of these vast retail combinations, should 
they ever permanently disappear, will form an interesting 
chapter in the commercial history of our nation. Such 
a flowering out of a modest trade principle the world had 
never witnessed up to that time. They were along the 
line of the most effective retail organisation, with hun- 
dreds of stores coordinated into one and laid out upon 
the most imposing and economic basis. They were hand- 
some, bustling, successful affairs, with a host of clerks 
and a swarm of patrons. Carrie passed along the busy 
aisles, much affected by the remarkable displays of trin- 
kets, dress goods, stationery, and jewelry. Each separate 
counter was a show place of dazzling interest and attrac- 
tion. She could not help feeling the claim of each trinket 
and valuable upon her personally, and yet she did not 
stop. There was nothing there which she could not have 
used — nothing which she did not long to own. The 
dainty slippers and stockings, the delicately frilled skirts 
and petticoats, the laces, ribbons, hair-combs, purses, all 
touched her with individual desire, and she felt keenly 
the fact that not any of these things were in the range of 
her purchase. She was a work-seeker, an outcast without 
employment, one whom the average employee could tell 
at a glance was poor and in need of a situation. 

It must not be thought that any one could have mis- 
taken her for a nervous, sensitive, high-strung nature, 
cast unduly upon a cold, calculating, and unpoetic world. 
Such certainly she was not. But women are peculiarly 
sensitive to their adornment. 

Not only did Carrie feel the drag of desire for all which 
was new and pleasing in apparel for women, but she no- 
ticed too, with a touch at the heart, the fine ladies who 
elbowed and ignored her, brushing past in utter disregard 



SISTER CARRIE 25 

of her presence, themselves eagerly enlisted in the mate- 
rials which the store contained. Carrie was not familiar 
with the appearance of her more fortunate sisters of the 
city. Neither had she before known the nature and ap- 
pearance of the shop girls with whom she now compared 
poorly. They were pretty in the main, some even hand- 
some, with an air of independence and indifference which 
added, in the case of the more favoured, a certain 
piquancy. Their clothes were neat, in many instances 
fine, and wherever she encountered the eye of one it was 
only to recognise in it a keen analysis of her own position 
— her individual shortcomings of dress and that shadow 
of manner which she thought must hang about her and 
make clear to all who and what she was. A flame of envy 
lighted in her heart. She realised in a dim way how 
much the city held — wealth, fashion, ease — every adorn- 
ment for women, and she longed for dress and beauty 
with a whole heart. 

On the second floor were the managerial offices, to 
which, after some inquiry, she was now directed. There 
she found other girls ahead of her, applicants like herself, 
but with more of that self-satisfied and independent air 
which experience of the city lends; girls who scrutinised 
her in a painful manner. After a wait of perhaps three- 
quarters of an hour, she was called in turn. 

" Now," said a sharp, quick-mannered Jew, who was 
sitting at a roll-top desk near the window, " have you ever 
worked in any other store?" 

" No, sir," said Carrie. 

" Oh, you haven't," he said, eyeing her keenly. 

" No, sir," she replied. 

" Well, we prefer young women just now with some 
experience. I guess we can't use you." 

Carrie stood waiting a moment, hardly certain whether 
the interview had terminated. 



26 SISTER CARRIE 

"Don't wait!" he exclaimed. "Remember we are 
very busy here." 

Carrie began to move quickly to the door. 

" Hold on," he said, calling her back. " Give me your 
name and address. We want girls occasionally." 

When she had gotten safely into the street, she could 
scarcely restrain the tears. It was not so much the partic- 
ular rebuff which she had just experienced, but the whole 
abashing trend of the day. She was tired and nervous. 
She abandoned the thought of appealing to the other de- 
partment stores and now wandered on, feeling a certain 
safety and relief in mingling with the crowd. 

In her indifferent wandering she turned into Jackson 
Street, not far from the river, and was keeping her way 
along the south side of that imposing thoroughfare, when 
a piece of wrapping paper, written on with marking ink 
and tacked up on the door, attracted her attention. It 
read, " Girls wanted — wrappers & stitchers." She hesi- 
tated a moment, then entered. 

The firm of Speigelheim & Co., makers of boys' caps, 
occupied one floor of the building, fifty feet in width and 
some eighty feet in depth. It was a place rather dingily 
lighted, the darkest portions having incandescent lights, 
filled with machines and work benches. At the latter 
laboured quite a company of girls and some men. The 
former were drabby-looking creatures, stained in face with 
oil and dust, clad in thin, shapeless, cotton dresses and 
shod with more or less worn shoes. Many of them had 
their sleeves rolled up, revealing bare arms, and in some 
cases, owing to the heat, their dresses were open at the 
neck. They were a fair type of nearly the lowest order 
of shop-girls — careless, slouchy, and more or less pale 
from confinement. They were not timid, however; were 
rich in curiosity, and strong in daring and slang. 

Carrie looked about her, very much disturbed and quite 



SISTER CARRIE 2? 

sure that she did not want to work here. Aside from 
making her uncomfortable by sidelong glances, no one 
paid her the least attention. She waited until the whole 
department was aware of her presence. Then some word 
was sent around, and a foreman, in an apron and shirt 
sleeves, the latter rolled up to his shoulders, approached. 

" Do you want to see me? " he asked. 

" Do you need any help? " said Carrie, already learning 
directness of address. 

" Do you know how to stitch caps? " he returned. 

" No, sir," she replied. 

" Have you ever had any experience at this kind of 
work? " he inquired. 

She answered that she had not. 

" Well," said the foreman, scratching his ear medita- 
tively, " we do need a stitcher. We like experienced help, 
though. We've hardly got time to break people in." He 
paused and looked away out of the window. " We might, 
though, put you at finishing," he concluded reflectively. 

" How much do you pay a week ? " ventured Carrie, 
emboldened by a certain softness in the man's manner 
and his simplicity of address. 

" Three and a half," he answered. 

" Oh," she was about to exclaim, but checked herself 
and allowed her thoughts to die without expression. 

" We're not exactly in need of anybody," he went on 
vaguely, looking her over as one would a package. " You 
can come on Monday morning, though," he added, " and 
I'll put you to work." 

" Thank you," said Carrie weakly. 

" If you come, bring an apron," he added. 

He walked away and left her standing by the elevator, 
never so much as inquiring her name. 

While the appearance of the shop and the announce- 
ment of the price paid per week operated very much as a 



^8 SISTER CARRIE 

blow to Carrie's fancy, the fact that work of any kind was 
offered after so rude a round of experience was gratifying. 
She could not begin to believe that she would take the 
place, modest as her aspirations were. She had been used 
to better than that. Her mere experience and the free 
out-of-door life of the country caused her nature to revolt 
at such confinement. Dirt had never been her share. 
Her sister's flat was clean. This place was grimy and 
low, the girls were careless and hardened. They must be 
bad-minded and hearted, she imagined. Still, a place had 
been offered her. Surely Chicago was not so bad if she 
could find one place in one day. She might find another 
and better later. 

Her subsequent experiences were not of a reassuring 
nature, however. From all the more pleasing or impos- 
ing places she was turned away abruptly with the most 
chilling formality. In others where she applied only the 
experienced were required. She met with painful rebuffs, 
the most trying of which had been in a manufacturing 
cloak house, where she had gone to the fourth floor to 
inquire. 

" No, no," said the foreman, a rough, heavily built in- 
dividual, who looked after a miserably lighted workshop, 
" we don't want any one. Don't come here." 

With the wane of the afternoon went her hopes, her 
courage, and her strength. She had been astonishingly 
persistent. So earnest an effort was well deserving of a 
better reward. On every hand, to her fatigued senses, 
the great business portion grew larger, harder, more 
stolid in its indifference. Jt seemed as if it was all closed 
to her, that the struggle was too fierce for her to hope to 
do anything at all. Men and women hurried by in long, 
shifting lines. She felt the flow of the tide of effort and 
interest — felt her own helplessness without quite realising 
the wisp on the tide that she was. She cast about vainly 



SISTER CARRIE 29 

for some possible place to apply, but found no door which 
she had the courage to enter. It would be the same thing 
all over. The old humiliation of her plea, rewarded by- 
curt denial. Sick at heart and in body, she turned to the 
west, the direction of Minnie's flat, which she had now 
fixed in mind, and began that wearisome, baffled retreat 
which the seeker for employment at nightfall too often 
makes. In passing through Fifth Avenue, south towards 
Van Buren Street, where she intended to take a car, she 
passed the door of a large wholesale shoe house, through 
the plate-glass window of which she could see a middle- 
aged gentleman sitting at a small desk. One of those 
forlorn impulses which often grow out of a fixed sense of 
defeat, the last sprouting of a baffled and uprooted growth 
of ideas, seized upon her. She walked deliberately 
through the door and up to the gentleman, who looked at 
her weary face with partially awakened interest. 

"What is it? "he said. 

" Can you give me something to do? " said Carrie. 

" Now, I really don't know," he said kindly. " What 
kind of work is it you want — you're not a typewriter, are 
you?" 

" Oh, no," answered Carrie. 

" Well, we only employ book-keepers and typewriters 
here. You might go around to the side and inquire up- 
stairs. They did want some help upstairs a few days ago. 
Ask for Mr. Brown." 

She hastened around to the side entrance and was taken 
up by the elevator to the fourth floor. 

" Call Mr. Brown, Willie," said the elevator man to a 
boy near by. 

Willie went off and presently returned with the infor- 
mation that Mr. Brown said she should sit down and that 
he would be around in a little while. 

It was a portion of the stock room which gave no idea 



30 SISTER CARRIE 

of the general character of the place, and Carrie could 
form no opinion of the nature of the work. 

" So you want something to do," said Mr. Brown, after 
he inquired concerning the nature of her errand. " Have 
you ever been employed in a shoe factory before? " 

" No, sir," said Carrie. 

"What is your name?" he inquired, and being in- 
formed, " Well, I don't know as* I have anything for you. 
Would you work for four and a half a week? " 

Carrie was too worn by defeat not to feel that it was 
considerable. She had not expected that he would offer 
her less than six. She acquiesced, however, and he took 
her name and address. 

" Well," he said, finally, " you report here at eight 
o'clock Monday morning. I think I can find something 
for you to do." 

He left her revived by the possibilities, sure that she had 
found something at last. Instantly the blood crept 
warmly over her body. Her nervous tension relaxed. 
She walked out into the busy street and discovered a new 
atmosphere. Behold, the throng was moving with a 
lightsome step. She noticed that men and women were 
smiling. Scraps of conversation and notes of laughter 
floated to her. The air was light. People were already 
pouring out of the buildings, their labour ended for the 
day. She noticed that they were pleased, and thoughts 
of her sister's home and the meal that would be awaiting 
her quickened her steps. She hurried on, tired perhaps, 
but no longer weary of foot. What would not Minnie 
say! Ah, the long winter in Chicago — the lights, the 
crowd, the amusement! This was a great, pleasing me- 
tropolis after all. Her new firm was a goodly institution. 
Its windows were of huge plate glass. She could prob- 
ably do well there. Thoughts of Drouet returned — of the 
things he had told her. She now felt that life was better, 



SISTER CARRIE 31 

that it was livelier, sprig'htlier. She boarded a car in the 
best of spirits, feeling her blood still flowing pleasantly. 
She would live in Chicago, her mind kept saying to itself. 
She would have a better time than she had ever had before 
— she would be happy. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE SPENDINGS OF FANCY : FACTS ANSWER WITH SNEERS 

For the next two days Carrie indulged in the most high- 
flown speculations. 

Her fancy plunged recklessly into privileges and 
amusements which would have been much more becom- 
ing had she been cradled a child of fortune. With ready 
will and quick mental selection she scattered her meagre 
four-fifty per week with a swift and graceful hand. In- 
deed, as she sat in her rocking-chair these several even- 
ings before going to bed and looked out upon the pleas- 
antly lighted street, this money cleared for its prospective 
possessor the way to every joy and every bauble which the 
heart of woman may desire. " I will have a fine time," 
she thought. 

Her sister Minnie knew nothing of these rather wild 
cerebrations, though they exhausted the markets of de- 
light. She was too busy scrubbing the kitchen wood- 
work and calculating the purchasing power of eighty 
cents for Sunday's dinner. When Carrie had returned 
home, flushed with her first success and ready, for all 
her weariness, to discuss the now interesting events which 
led up to her achievement, the former had merely smiled 
approvingly and inquired whether she would have to 
spend any of it for car fare. This consideration had not 
entered in before, and it did not now for long affect the 
glow of Carrie's enthusiasm. Disposed as she then was 
to calculate upon that vague basis which allows the sub- 



SISTER CARRIE 33 

traction of one sum from another without any perceptible 
diminution, she was happy. 

When Hanson came home at seven o'clock, he was in- 
clined to be a little crusty — his usual demeanour before 
supper. This never showed so much in anything he said 
as in a certain solemnity of countenance and the silent 
manner in which he slopped about. He had a pair of 
yellow carpet slippers which he enjoyed wearing, and 
these he would immediately substitute for his solid pair 
of shoes. This, and washing his face with the aid of com- 
mon washing soap until it glowed a shiny red, constituted 
his only preparation for his evening meal. He would 
then get his evening paper and read in silence. 

For a young man, this was rather a morbid turn of 
character, and so affected Carrie. Indeed, it affected the 
entire atmosphere of the flat, as such things are inclined 
to do, and gave to his wife's mind its subdued and tactful 
turn, anxious to avoid taciturn replies. Under the influ- 
ence of Carrie's announcement he brightened up some- 
what. 

"You didn't lose any time, did you?" he remarked, 
smiling a little. 

" No," returned Carrie with a touch of pride. 

He asked her one or two more questions and then 
turned to play with the baby, leaving the subject until it 
was brought up again by Minnie at the table. 

Carrie, 'however, was not to be reduced to the common 
level of observation which prevailed in the flat. 

" It seems to be such a large company," she said, at one 
place. " Great big plate-glass windows and lots of clerks. 
The man I saw said they hired ever so many people." 

" It's not very hard to get work now," put in Hanson, 
" if you look right." 

Minnie, under the warming influence of Carrie's good 
spirits and her husband's somewhat conversational mood, 
3 



34 SISTER CARRIE 

began to tell Carrie of some of the well-known things to 
see — things the enjoyment of which cost nothing. 

" You'd like to see Michigan Avenue. There are such 
fine houses. It is such a fine street." 

" Where is ' H. R. Jacob's '? " interrupted Carrie, men- 
tioning one of the theatres devoted to melodrama which 
went by that name at the time. * 

" Oh, it's not very far from here," answered Minnie. 
" It's in Halstead Street, right up here." 

" How I'd like to go there. I crossed Halstead Street 
to-day, didn't I?" 

At this there was a slight halt in the natural reply. 
Thoughts are a strangely permeating factor. At her sug- 
gestion of going to the theatre, the unspoken shade of dis- 
approval to the doing of those things which involved the 
expenditure of money — shades of feeling which arose in 
the mind of Hanson and then in Minnie — slightly affected 
the atmosphere of the table. Minnie answered " yes," but 
Carrie could feel that going to the theatre was poorly 
advocated here. The subject was put off for a little while 
until Hanson, through with his meal, took his paper and 
went into the front room. 

When they were alone, the two sisters began a some- 
what freer conversation, Carrie interrupting it to hum a 
little, as they worked at the dishes. 

" I should like to walk up and see Halstead Street, if it 
isn't too far," said Carrie, after a time. " Why don't we 
go to the theatre to-night? " 

" Oh, I don't think Sven would want to go to-night," 
returned Minnie. " He has to get up so early." 

" He wouldn't mind — he'd enjoy it," said Carrie. 

" No, he doesn't go very often," returned Minnie. 

" Well, I'd like to go," rejoined Carrie. " Let's you 
and me go." 

Minnie pondered a while, not upon whether she could 



SISTER CARRIE 35 

or would go — for that point was already negatively set- 
tled with her — but upon some means of diverting the 
thoughts of her sister to some other topic. 

" We'll go some other time," she said at last, finding 
no ready means of escape. 

Carrie sensed the root of the opposition at once. 

" I have some money," she said. " You go with me." 

Minnie shook her head. 

" He could go along," said Carrie. 

" No," returned Minnie softly, and rattling the dishes to 
drown the conversation. " He wouldn't." 

It had been several years since Minnie had seen Carrie, 
and in that time the latter's character had developed a few 
shades. Naturally timid in all things that related to her 
own advancement, and especially so when without power 
or resource, her craving for pleasure was so strong that it 
was the one stay of her nature. She would speak for that 
when silent on all else. 

" Ask him," she pleaded softly. 

Minnie was thinking of the resource which Carrie's 
board would add. It would pay the rent and would make 
the subject of expenditure a little less difficult to talk 
about with her husband. But if Carrie was going to think 
of running around in the beginning there would be a 
hitch somewhere. Unless Carrie submitted to a solemn 
round of industry and saw the need of hard work without 
longing for play, how was her coming to the city to profit 
them? These thoughts were not those of a, cold, hard 
nature at all. They were the serious reflections of a mind 
which invariably adjusted itself, without much complain- 
ing, to such surroundings as its industry could make for 
it. 

At last she yielded enough to ask Hanson. It was a 
half-hearted procedure without a shade of desire on her 
part. 



36 SISTER CARRIE 

" Carrie wants us to go to the theatre," she said, looking 
in upon her husband. Hanson looked up from his paper, 
and they exchanged a mild look, which said as plainly as 
anything: " This isn't what we expected." 

" I don't care to go," he returned. " What does she 
want to see? " 

" H. R. Jacob's," said Minnie. 

He looked down at his paper and shook his head nega- 
tively. 

When Carrie saw how they looked upon her proposi- 
tion, she gained a still clearer feeling of their way of life. 
It weighed on her,but took no definite form of opposition. 

" I think I'll go down and stand at the foot of the 
stairs," she said, after a time. 

Minnie made no objection to this, and Carrie put on her 
hat and went below. 

" Where has Carrie gone? " asked Hanson, coming 
back into the dining-room when he heard the door close. 

" She said she was going down to the foot of the stairs," 
answered Minnie. " I guess she just wants to look out 
a while." 

" She oughtn't to be thinking about spending her 
money on theatres already, do you think? " he said. 

" She just feels a little curious, I guess," ventured 
Minnie. " Everything is so new." 

" I don't know," said Hanson, and went over to the 
baby, his forehead slightly wrinkled. 

He was thinking of a full career of vanity and wasteful- 
ness which a young girl might indulge in, and wondering 
how Carrie could contemplate such a course when she 
had so little, as yet, with which to do. 

On Saturday Carrie went out by herself — first toward 
the river, which interested her, and then back along Jack- 
son Street, which was then lined by the pretty houses and 
fine lawns which subsequently caused it to be made into 



SISTER CARRIE 37 

a boulevard. She was struck with the evidences of wealth, 
although there was, perhaps, not a person on the street 
worth more than a hundred thousand dollars. She was 
glad to be out of the fiat, because already she felt that it 
was a narrow, humdrum place, and that interest and joy 
lay elsewhere. Her thoughts now were of a more liberal 
character, and she punctuated them with speculations as 
to the whereabouts of Drouet. She was not sure but that 
he might call anyhow Monday night, and, while she felt 
a little disturbed at the possibility, there was, neverthe- 
less, just the shade of a wish that he would. 

On Monday she arose early and prepared to go to work. 
She dressed herself in a worn shirt-waist of dotted blue 
percale, a skirt of light-brown serge rather faded, and a 
small straw hat which she had worn all summer at Colum- 
bia City. Her shoes were old, and her necktie was in 
that crumpled, flattened state which time and much wear- 
ing impart. She made a very average looking shop-girl 
with the exception of her features. These were slightly 
more even than common, and gave her a sweet, reserved, 
and pleasing appearance. 

It is no easy thing to get up early in the morning when 
one is used to sleeping until seven and eight,' as Carrie had 
been at home. She gained some inkling of the character 
of Hanson's life when, half asleep, she looked out into 
the dining-room at six o'clock and saw him silently fin- 
ishing his breakfast. By the time she was dressed he was 
gone, and she, Minnie, and the baby ate together, the lat- 
ter being just old enough to sit in a high chair and disturb 
the dishes with a spoon. Her spirits were greatly sub- 
dued now when the fact of entering upon strange and un- 
tried duties confronted her. Only the ashes of all her 
fine fancies were remaining — ashes still concealing, never- 
theless, a few red embers of hope. So subdued was she 
by her weakening nerves, that she ate quite in silence, 



38 SISTER CARRIE 

going over imaginary conceptions of the character of the 
shoe company, the nature of the work, her employer's atti- 
tude. She was vaguely feeling that she would come in 
contact with the great owners, that her work would be 
where grave, stylishly dressed men occasionally look on. 

" Well, good luck," said Minnie, when she was ready 
to go. They had agreed it was best to walk, that morning 
at least, to see if she could do it every day — sixty cents a 
week for car fare being quite an item under the circum- 
stances. 

" I'll tell you how it goes to-night," said Carrie. 

Once in the sunlit street, with labourers tramping by in 
either direction, the horse-cars passing crowded to the 
rails with the small clerks and floor help in the great 
wholesale houses, and men and women generally coming 
out of doors and passing about the neighbourhood, Carrie 
felt slightly reassured. In the sunshine of the morning, 
beneath the wide, blue heavens, with a fresh wind astir, 
what fears, except the most desperate, can find a harbour- 
age? In the night, or the gloomy chambers of the day, 
fears and misgivings wax strong, but out in the sunlight 
there is, for a time, cessation even of the terror of death. 

Carrie went straight forward until she crossed the river, 
and then turned into Fifth Avenue. The thoroughfare, 
in this part, was like a walled canon of brown stone and 
dark red brick. The big windows looked shiny and clean. 
Trucks were rumbling in increasing numbers; men and 
women, girls and boys were moving onward in all direc- 
tions. She met girls of her own age, who looked at her 
as if with contempt for her diffidence. She wondered at 
the magnitude of this life and at the importance of know- 
ing much in order to do anything in it at all. Dread at 
her own inefficiency crept upon her. She would not 
know how, she would not be quick enough. Had not all 
the other places refused her because she did not know 



SISTER CARRIE 39 

something or other? She would be scolded, abused, igno- 
miniously discharged. 

It was with weak knees and a slight catch in her breath- 
ing that she came up to the great shoe company at Adams 
and Fifth Avenue and entered the elevator. When she 
stepped out on the fourth floor there was no one at hand, 
only great aisles of boxes piled to the ceiling. She stood, 
very much frightened, awaiting some one. 

Presently Mr. Brown came up. He did not seem to 
recognise her. 

" What is it you want? " he inquired. 

Carrie's heart sank. 

" You said I should come this morning to see about 
work " 

" Oh," he interrupted. " Um — yes. What is your 
name?" 

" Carrie Meeber." 

" Yes," said he. " You come with me." 

He led the way through dark, box-lined aisles which 
had the smell of new shoes, until they came to an iron 
door which opened into the factory proper. There was a 
large, low-ceiled room, with clacking, rattling machines 
at which men in white shirt sleeves and blue gingham 
aprons were working. She followed him diffidently 
through the clattering automatons, keeping her eyes 
straight before her, and flushing slightly. They crossed 
to a far corner and took an elevator to the sixth floor. 
Out of the array of machines and benches, Mr. Brown 
signalled a foreman. 

" This is the girl," he said, and turning to Carrie, " You 
go with him." He then returned, and Carrie followed her 
new superior to a little desk in a corner, which he used 
as a kind of official centre. 

" You've never worked at anything like this before, 
have you?" he questioned, rather sternly. 



40 SISTER CARRIE 

" No, sir," she answered. 

He seemed rather annoyed at having to bother with 
such help, but put down her name and then led her across 
to where a line of girls occupied stools in front of clacking 
machines. On the shoulder of one of the girls who was 
punching eye-holes in one piece of the upper, by the aid 
of the machine, he put his hand. 

" You," he said, " show this girl how to do what you're 
doing. When you get through, come to me." 

The girl so addressed rose promptly and gave Carrie 
her place. 

" It isn't hard to do," she said, bending over. " You 
just take this so, fasten it with this clamp, and start the 
machine." 

She suited action to word, fastened the piece of leather, 
which was eventually to form the right half of the upper 
of a man's shoe, by little adjustable clamps, and pushed 
a small steel rod at the side of the machine. The latter 
jumped to the task of punching, with sharp, snapping 
clicks, cutting circular bits of leather out of the side of the 
upper, leaving the holes which were to hold the laces. 
After observing a few times, the girl let her work at it 
alone. Seeing that it was fairly well done, she went away. 

The pieces of leather came from the girl at the machine 
to her right, and were passed on to the girl at her left. 
Carrie saw at once that an average speed was necessary 
or the work would pile up on her and all those below 
would be delayed. She had no time to look about, and 
bent anxiously to her task. The girls at her left and right 
realised her predicament and feelings, and, in a way, tried 
to aid her, as much as they dared, by working slower. 

At this task she laboured incessantly for some time, 
finding relief from her own nervous fears and imaginings 
in the humdrum, mechanical movement of the machine. 
She felt, as the minutes passed, that the room was not very 



SISTER CARRIE 41 

light. It had a thick odour of fresh leather, but that did 
not worry her. She felt the eyes of the other help upon 
her, and troubled lest she was not working fast enough. 

Once, when she was fumbling at the little clamp, having 
made a slight error in setting in the leather, a great hand 
appeared before her eyes and fastened the clamp for her. 
It was the foreman. Her heart thumped so that she could 
scarcely see to go on. 

" Start your machine," he said, " start your machine. 
Don't keep the line waiting." 

This recovered her sufficiently and she went excitedly 
on, hardly breathing until the shadow moved away from 
behind her. Then she heaved a great breath. 

As the morning wore on the room became hotter. She 
felt the need of a breath of fresh air and a drink of water, 
but did not venture to stir. The stool she sat on was 
without a back or foot-rest, and she began to feel uncom- 
fortable. She found, after a time, that her back was be- 
ginning to ache. She twisted and turned from one posi- 
tion to another slightly different, but it did not ease her 
for long. She was beginning to weary. 

" Stand up, why don't you ? " said the girl at her right, 
without any form of introduction. " They won't care." 

Carrie looked at her gratefully. " I guess I will," she 
said. 

She stood up from her stool and worked that way for a 
while, but it was a more difficult position. Her neck and 
shoulders ached in bending over. 

The spirit of the place impressed itself on her in a rough 
way. She did not venture to look around, but above the 
clack of the machine she could hear an occasional remark. 
She could also note a thing or two out of the side of her 
eye. 

" Did you see Harry last night? " said the girl at her 
left, addressing her neighbour. 



42 SISTER CARRIE 

" No." 

" You ought to have seen the tie he had on. Gee, but 
he was a mark." 

" S-s-t," said the other girl, bending over her work. 
The first, silenced, instantly assumed a solemn face. The 
foreman passed slowly along, eyeing each worker dis- 
tinctly. The moment he was gone, the conversation was 
resumed again. 

" Say," began the girl at her left, " what jeh think he 
said?" 

" I don't know." 

" He said he saw us with Eddie Harris at Martin's last 
night." 

"No!"' They both giggled. 

A youth with tan-coloured hair, that needed clipping 
very badly, came shuffling along between the machines, 
bearing a basket of leather findings under his left arm, 
and pressed against his stomach. When near Carrie, he 
stretched out his right hand and gripped one girl under 
the arm. 

" Aw, let me go," she exclaimed angrily. " Duffer." 

He only grinned broadly in return. 

" Rubber ! " he called back as she looked after him. 
There was nothing of the gallant in him. 

Carrie at last could scarcely sit still. Her legs began 
to tire and she wanted to get up and stretch. Would noon 
never come? It seemed as if she had worked an entire 
day. She was not hungry at all, but weak, and her eyes 
were tired, straining at the one point where the eye-punch 
came down. The girl at the right noticed her squirmings 
and felt sorry for her. She was concentrating herself too 
thoroughly — what she did really required less mental and 
physical strain. There was nothing to be done, however. 
The halves of the uppers came piling steadily down. Her 
hands began to ache at the wrists and then in the fingers, 



SISTER CARRIE 



43 



and towards the last she seemed one mass of dull, com- 
plaining muscles, fixed in an eternal position and per- 
forming a single mechanical movement which became 
more and more distasteful, until at last it was absolutely 
nauseating. When she was wondering whether the strain 
would ever cease, a dull-sounding bell clanged somewhere 
down an elevator shaft, and the end came. In an instant 
there was a buzz of action and conversation. All the girls 
instantly left their stools and hurried away in an adjoin- 
ing room, men passed through, coming from some depart- 
ment which opened on the right. The whirling wheels 
began to sing in a steadily modifying key, until at last they 
died away in a low buzz. There was an audible stillness, 
in which the common voice sounded strange. 

Carrie got up and sought her lunch box. She was stiff, 
a little dizzy, and very thirsty. On the way to the small 
space portioned off by wood, where all the wraps and 
lunches were kept, she encountered the foreman, who 
stared at her hard. 

" Well," he said, " did you get along all right? " 

" I think so," she replied, very respectfully. 

" Um," he replied, for want of something better, and 
walked on. 

Under better material conditions, this kind of work 
would not have been so bad, but the new socialism 
which involves pleasant working conditions for em- 
ployees had not then taken hold upon manufacturing 
companies. 

The place smelled of the oil of the machines and the new 
leather — a combination which, added to the stale odours 
of the building, was not pleasant even in cold weather. 
The floor, though regularly swept every evening, pre- 
sented a littered surface. Not the slightest provision had 
been made for the comfort of the employees, the idea 
being that something was gained by giving them as little 



44 SISTER CARRIE 

and making the work as hard and unremunerative as pos- 
sible. What we know of foot-rests, swivel-back chairs, 
dining-rooms for the girls, clean aprons and curling irons 
supplied free, and a decent cloak room, were unthought 
of. The washrooms were disagreeable, crude, if not foul 
places, and the whole atmosphere was sordid. 

Carrie looked about her, after she had drunk a tinful of 
water from a bucket in one corner, for a place to sit and 
eat. The other girls had ranged themselves about the 
windows or the work-benches of those of the men who had 
gone out. She saw no place which did not hold a couple 
or a group of girls, and being too timid to think of intrud- 
ing herself, she sought out her machine and, seated upon 
her stool, opened her lunch on her lap. There she sat 
listening to the chatter and comment about her. It was, 
for the most part, silly and graced by the current slang. 
Several of the men in the room exchanged compliments 
with the girls at long range. 

" Say, Kitty," called one to a girl who was doing a waltz 
step in a few feet of space near one of the windows, " are 
you going to the ball with me? " 

" Look out, Kitty," called another, " you'll jar your 
back hair." 

" <^o on, Rubber," was her only comment. 

As Carrie listened to this and much more of similar 
familiar badinage among the men and girls, she instinc- 
tively withdrew into herself. She was not used to this 
type, and felt that there was something hard and low 
about it all. She feared that the young boys about would 
address such remarks to her — boys who, beside Drouet, 
seemed uncouth and ridiculous. She made the average 
feminine distinction between clothes, putting worth, 
goodness, and distinction in a dress suit, and leaving all 
the unlovely qualities and those beneath notice in overalls 
and jumper. 



SISTER CARRIE 45 

She was glad when the short half hour was over and 
the wheels began to whirr again. Though wearied, she 
would be inconspicuous. This illusion ended when an- 
other young man passed along the aisle and poked her 
indifferently in the ribs with his thumb. She turned 
about, indignation leaping to her eyes, but he had gone 
on and only once turned to grin. She found it difficult to 
conquer an inclination to cry. 

The girl next her noticed her state of mind. " Don't 
you mind," she said. " He's too fresh." 

Carrie said nothing, but bent over her work. She felt 
as though she could hardly endure such a life. Her idea 
of work had been so entirely different. All during the 
long afternoon she thought of the city outside and its im- 
posing show, crowds, and fine buildings. Columbia City 
and the better side of her home life came back. By three 
o'clock she was sure it must be six, and by four it seemed 
as if they had forgotten to note the hour and were letting 
all work overtime. The foreman became a true ogre, 
prowling constantly about, keeping her tied down to her 
miserable task. What she heard of the conversation 
about her only made her feel sure that she did not want 
to make friends with any of these. When six o'clock 
came she hurried eagerly away, her arms aching and her 
limbs stiff from sitting in one position. 

As she passed out along the hall after getting her hat, 
a young machine hand, attracted by her looks, made bold 
to jest with her. 

" Say, Maggie," he called, " if you wait, I'll walk with 
you." 

It was thrown so straight in her direction that she knew 
who was meant, but never turned to look. 

In the crowded elevator, another dusty, toil-stained 
youth tried to make an impression on her by leering in 
her face. 



46 SISTER CARRIE 

One young man, waiting on the walk outside for the 
appearance of another, grinned at her as she passed. 

" Ain't going my way, are you? " he called jocosely. 

Carrie turned her face to the west with a subdued heart. 
As she turned the corner, she saw through the great shiny 
window the small desk at which she had applied. There 
were the crowds, hurrying with the same buzz and energy- 
yielding enthusiasm. She felt a slight relief, but it was 
only at her escape. She felt ashamed in the face of better 
dressed girls who went by. She felt as though she should 
be better served, and her heart revolted. 



CHAPTER V 

A GLITTERING NIGHT FLOWER: THE USE OF A NAME 

Drouet did not call that evening. After receiving the 
letter, he had laid aside all thought of Carrie for the time 
being and was floating around having what he considered 
a gay time. On this particular evening he dined at " Rec- 
tor's," a restaurant of some local fame, which occupied a 
basement at Clark and Monroe Streets. Thereafter he 
visited the resort of Fitzgerald and Moy's in Adams 
Street, opposite the imposing Federal Building. There 
he leaned over the splendid bar and swallowed a glass of 
plain whiskey and purchased a couple of cigars, one of 
which he lighted. This to him represented in part high 
life — a fair sample of what the whole must be. 

Drouet was not a drinker in excess. He was not a 
moneyed man. He only craved the best, as his mind con- 
ceived it, and such doings seemed to him a part of the best. 
Rector's, with its polis'hed marble walls and floor, its pro- 
fusion of lights, its show of china and silverware, and, 
above all, its reputation as a resort for actors and profes- 
sional men, seemed to him the proper place for a success- 
ful man to go. He loved fine clothes, good eating, and 
particularly the company and acquaintanceship of suc- 
cessful men. When dining, it was a source of keen satis- 
faction to him to know that Joseph Jefferson was wont to 
come to this same place, or that Henry E. Dixie, a welK 
known performer of the day, was then only a few tables 
off. At Rector's he could always obtain this satisfaction, 



48 SISTER CARRIE 

for there one could encounter politicians, brokers, actors, 
some rich young " rounders " of the town, all eating and 
drinking amid a buzz of popular commonplace conver- 
sation. 

" That's So-and-so over there," was a common remark 
of these gentlemen among themselves, particularly among 
those who had not yet reached, but hoped to do so, the 
dazzling height which money to dine here lavishly repre- 
sented. 

" You don't say so," would be the reply. 

" Why, yes, didn't you know that? Why, he's manager 
of the Grand Opera House." 

When these things would fall upon Drouet's ears, he 
would straighten himself a little more stiffly and eat with 
solid comfort. If he had any vanity, this augmented it, 
and if he had any ambition, this stirred it. He would 
be able to flash a roll of greenbacks too some day. As it 
was, he could eat where they did. 

His preference for Fitzgerald and Moy's Adams Street 
place was another yard off the same cloth. This was really 
a gorgeous saloon from a Chicago standpoint. Like 
Rector's, it was also ornamented with a blaze of incan- 
descent lights, held in handsome chandeliers. The floors 
were of brightly coloured tiles, the walls a composition of 
rich, dark, polished wood, which reflected the light, and 
coloured stucco-work, which gave the place a very sump- 
tuous appearance. The long bar was a blaze of lights, 
polished wood-work, coloured and cut glassware, and 
many fancy bottles. It was a truly swell saloon, with rich 
screens, fancy wines, and a line of bar goods unsurpassed 
in the country. 

At Rector's, Drouet had met Mr. G. W. Hurst- 
wood, manager of Fitzgerald and Moy's. He had been 
pointed out as a very successful and well-known man 
about town. Hurstwood looked the part, for, besides 



SISTER CARRIE 49 

being slightly under forty, he had a good, stout consti- 
tution, an active manner, and a solid, substantial air, 
which was composed in part of his fine clothes, his clean 
linen, his jewels, and, above all, his own sense of his im- 
portance. Drouet immediately conceived a notion of him 
as being some one worth knowing, and was glad not only 
to meet him, but to visit the Adams Street bar thereafter 
whenever he wanted a drink or a cigar. 

Hurstwood was an interesting character after his kind. 
He was shrewd and clever in many little things, and capa- 
ble of creating a good impression. His managerial posi- 
tion was fairly important — a kind of stewardship which 
was imposing, but lacked financial control. He had risen 
by perseverance and industry, through long years of ser- 
vice, from the position of barkeeper in a commonplace 
saloon to his present altitude. He had a little office in the 
place, set off in polished cherry and grill-work, where he 
kept, in a roll-top desk, the rather simple accounts of the 
place — supplies ordered and needed. The chief execu- 
tive and financial functions devolved upon the owners — 
Messrs. Fitzgerald and Moy — and upon a cashier who 
looked after the money taken in. 

For the most part he lounged about, dressed in excel- 
lent tailored suits of imported goods, a solitaire ring, a fine 
blue diamond in his tie, a striking vest of some new pat- 
tern, and a watch-chain of solid gold, which held a charm 
of rich design, and a watch of the latest make and engrav- 
ing. He knew by name, and could greet personally with 
a " Well, old fellow," hundreds of actors, merchants, poli- 
ticians, and the general run of successful characters about 
town, and it was part of his success to do so. He had a 
finely graduated scale of informality and friendship, which 
improved from the " How do you do? " addressed to the 
fifteen-dollar-a-week clerks and office attaches, who, by 
long frequenting of the place, became aware of his posi- 

4 



50 SISTER CARRIE 

tion, to the "Why, old man, how are you?" which he 
addressed to those noted or rich individuals who knew 
him and were inclined to be friendly. There was a class, 
however, too rich, too famous, or too successful, with 
whom he could not attempt any familiarity of address, and 
with these he was professionally tactful, assuming a grave 
and dignified attitude, paying them the deference which 
would win their good feeling without in the least com- 
promising his own bearing and opinions. There were, in 
the last place, a few good followers, neither rich nor poor, 
famous, nor yet remarkably successful, with whom he was 
friendly on the score of good-fellowship. These were the 
kind of men with whom he would converse longest and 
most seriously. He loved to go out and have a good time 
once in a while — to go to the races, the theatres, the sport- 
ing entertainments at some of the clubs. He kept a horse 
and neat trap, had his wife and two children, who were 
well established in a neat house on the North Side near 
Lincoln Park, and was altogether a very acceptable indi- 
vidual of our great American upper class — the first grade 
below the luxuriously rich. 

Hurstwood liked Drouet. The latter's genial nature 
and dressy appearance pleased him. He knew that 
Drouet was only a travelling salesman — and not one of 
many years at that — but the firm of Bartlett, Caryoe & 
Company was a large and prosperous house, and Drouet 
stood well. Hurstwood knew Caryoe quite well, having 
drunk a glass now and then with him, in company with 
several others, when the conversation was general. 
Drouet had what was a help in his business, a moderate 
sense of humour, and could tell a good story when the oc- 
casion required. He could talk races with Hurstwood, 
tell interesting incidents concerning himself and his ex- 
periences with women, and report the state of trade in the 
cities which he visited, and so managed to make himself 



SISTER CARRIE 5 1 

almost invariably agreeable. To-night he was particularly 
so, since his report to the company had been favour- 
ably commented upon, his new samples had been satis- 
factorily selected, and his trip marked out for the next 
six weeks. 

" Why, hello, Charlie, old man," said Hurstwood, as 
Drouet came in that evening about eight o'clock. " How 
goes it? " The room was crowded. 

Drouet shook hands, beaming good nature, and they 
strolled towards the bar. 

" Oh, all right." 

" I haven't seen you in six weeks. When did you get 
in?" 

" Friday," said Drouet. " Had a fine trip." 

" Glad of it," said Hurstwood, his black eyes lit with a 
warmth which half displaced the cold make-believe that 
usually dwelt in them. " What are you going to take? " 
he added, as the barkeeper, in snowy jacket and tie, leaned 
toward them from behind the bar. 

"Old Pepper," said Drouet. 

" A little of the same for me," put in Hurstwood. 

"How long are you in town this time?" inquired 
Hurstwood. 

" Only until Wednesday. I'm going up to St. Paul." 

" George Evans was in here Saturday and said he saw 
you in Milwaukee last week." 

" Yes, I saw George," returned Drouet. " Great old 
boy, isn't he ? We had quite a time there together." 

The barkeeper was setting out the glasses and bottle 
before them, and they now poured out the draught as they 
talked, Drouet filling his to within a third of full, as was 
considered proper, and Hurstwood taking the barest sug- 
gestion of whiskey and modifying it with seltzer. 

" What's become of Caryoe? " remarked Hurstwood. 
" I haven't seen him around here in two weeks." 



%2 SISTER CARRIE 

" Laid up, they say," exclaimed Drouet. " Say, he's a 
gouty old boy ! " 

" Made a lot of money in his time, though, hasn't he ?" 

" Yes, wads of it," returned Drouet. " He won't live 
much longer. Barely comes down to the office now." 

"Just one boy, hasn't he?" asked Hurstwood. 

" Yes, and a swift-pacer," laughed Drouet. 

" I guess he can't hurt the business very much, though, 
with the other members all there." 

" No, he can't injure that any, I guess." 

Hurstwood was standing, his coat open, his thumbs in 
his pockets, the light on his jewels and rings relieving 
them with agreeable distinctness. He was the picture of 
fastidious comfort. 

To one not inclined to drink, and gifted with a more 
serious turn of mind, such a bubbling, chattering, glitter- 
ing chamber must ever seem an anomaly, a strange com- 
mentary on nature and life. Here come the moths, in 
endless procession, to bask in the light of the flame. Such 
conversation as one may hear would not warrant a com- 
mendation of the scene upon intellectual grounds. It 
seems plain that schemers would choose more sequestered 
quarters to arrange their plans, that politicians would not 
gather here in company to discuss anything save formali- 
ties,, where the sharp-eared may hear, and it would 
scarcely be justified on the score of thirst, for the majority 
of those who frequent these more gorgeous places have 
no craving for liquor. 'Nevertheless, the fact that here 1 
men gather, here chatter, here love to pass and rub elbows, 
must be explained upon some grounds. It must be that 
a strange bundle of passions and vague desires give rise 
to such a curious social institution or it would not be. 

Drouet, for one, was lured as much by his longing for 
pleasure as by his desire to shine among his betters. The 
many friends he met here dropped in because they craved, 



SISTER CARRIE 53 

without, perhaps, consciously analysing it, the company, 
the glow, the atmosphere which they found. One might 
take it, after all, as an augur of the better social order, for 
the things which they satisfied here, though sensory, were 
not evil. No evil could come out of the contemplation of 
an expensively decorated chamber. The worst effect of 
such a thing would be, perhaps, to stir up in the material- 
minded an ambition to arrange their lives upon a similarly 
splendid basis. In the last analysis, that would scarcely 
be called the fault of the decorations, but rather of the in- 
nate trend of the mind. That such a scene might stir the 
less expensively dressed to emulate the more expensively 
dressed could scarcely be laid at the door of anything save 
the false ambition of the minds of those so affected. Re- 
move the element so thoroughly and solely complained 
of — liquor — and there would not be one to gainsay the 
qualities of beauty and enthusiasm which would remain. 
The pleased eye with which our modern restaurants- of 
fashion are looked upon is proof of this assertion. 

Yet, here is the fact of the lighted chamber, the dressy, 
greedy company, the small, self-interested palaver, the 
disorganized, aimless, wandering mental action which it 
represents — the love of light and show and finery which, 
to one outside, under the serene light of the eternal stars, 
must seem a strange and shiny thing. Under the stars 
and sweeping night winds, what a lamp-flower it must 
bloom; a strange, glittering night-flower, odour-yielding, 
insect-drawing, insect-infested rose of pleasure. 

" See that fellow coming in there ? " said Hurstwood, 
glancing at a gentleman just entering, arrayed in a high 
hat and Prince Albert coat, his fat cheeks puffed and red 
as with good eating. 

" No, where? " said Dr'ouet. 

" There," said Hurstwood, indicating the direction by 
a cast of his eye, " the man with the silk hat." 



54 SISTER CARRIE 

" Oh, yes," said Drouet, now affecting not to see. 
" Who is he? " 

" That's Jules Wallace, the spiritualist." 

Drouet followed him with his eyes, much interested. 

" Doesn't look much like a man who sees spirits, does 
he? " said Drouet. 

" Oh, I don't know," returned Hurstwood. " He's got 
the money, all right," and a little twinkle passed over his 
eyes. 

"I don't go much on those things, do you?" asked 
Drouet. 

" Well, you never can tell," said Hurstwood. " There 
may be something to it. I wouldn't bother about it my- 
self, though. By the way," he added, " are you going 
anywhere to-night? " 

" ' The Hole in the Ground,' " said Drouet, mentioning 
the popular farce of the time. 

" Well, you'd better be going. It's half after eight al- 
ready," and he drew out his watch. 

The crowd was already thinning out considerably — 
some bound for the theatres, some to their clubs, and 
some to that most fascinating of all the pleasures — for the 
type of man there represented, at least — the ladies. 

" Yes, I will," said Drouet. 

" Come around after the show. I have something I 
want to show you," said Hurstwood. 

" Sure," said Drouet, elated. 

" You haven't anything on hand for the night, have 
you? " added Hurstwood. 

" Not a thing." 

" Well, come round, then." 

" I struck a little peach coming in on the train Friday," 
remarked Drouet, by way of parting. " By George, that's 
so, I must go and call on her before I go away." 

" Oh, never mind her," Hurstwood remarked. 



SISTER CARRIE 55 

" Say, she was a little dandy, I tell you," went on Drouet 
confidentially, and trying to impress his friend. 

" Twelve o'clock," said Hurstwood. 

" That's right," said Drouet, going out. 

Thus was Carrie's name bandied about in the most 
frivolous and gay of places, and that also when the little 
toiler was bemoaning her narrow lot, which was almost 
inseparable from the early stages of this, her unfolding 
fate. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE MACHINE AND THE MAIDEN : A KNIGHT OF TO-DAY 

At the flat that evening Carrie felt a new phase of its 
atmosphere. The fact that it was unchanged, while her 
feelings were different, increased her, knowledge of its 
character. Minnie, after the good spirits Carrie mani- 
fested at first, expected a fair report. Hanson supposed 
that Carrie would be satisfied. 

" Well," he said, as he came in from the hall in his work- 
ing clothes, and looked at Carrie through the dining-room 
door, " how did you make out? " 

" Oh," said Carrie, " it's pretty hard. I don't like it." 

There was an air about her which showed plainer than 
any words that she was both weary and disappointed. 

" What sort of work is it? " he asked, lingering a mo- 
ment as he turned upon his heel to go into the bathroom. 

" Running a machine," answered Carrie. 

It was very evident that it did not concern him much, 
save from the side of the flat's success. He was irritated 
a shade because it could not have come about in the throw 
of fortune for Carrie to be pleased. 

Minnie worked with less elation than she had just be- 
fore Carrie arrived. The sizzle of the meat frying did not 
sound quite so pleasing now that Carrie had reported her 
discontent. To Carrie, the one relief of the whole day 
would have been a jolly home, a sympathetic reception, 
a bright supper table, and some one to say: " Oh, well, 
stand it a little while. You will get something better," 



SISTER CARRIE 57 

but now this was ashes. She began to see that they looked 
upon her complaint as unwarranted, and that she was sup- 
posed to work on and say nothing. She knew that she 
was to pay four dollars for her board and room, and now 
she felt that it would be an exceedingly gloomy round, 
living with these people. 

Minnie was no companion for her sister — she was too 
old. Her thoughts were staid and solemnly adapted to a 
condition. If Hanson had any pleasant thoughts or happy 
feelings he concealed them. He seemed to do all his 
mental operations without the aid of physical expression. 
He was as still as a deserted chamber. Carrie, on the 
other hand, had the blood of youth and some imagination. 
Her day of love and the mysteries of courtship were still 
ahead. She could think of things she would like to do, 
of clothes she would like to wear, and of places she would 
like to visit. These were the things upon which her mind 
ran, and it was like meeting with opposition at every 
turn to find no one here to call forth or respond to her 
feelings. 

She had forgotten, in considering and explaining the 
result of her day, that Drouet might come. Now, when 
she saw how unreceptive these two people were, she hoped 
he would not. She did not know exactly what she would 
do or how she would explain to Drouet, if he came. After 
supper she changed her clothes. When she was trimly 
dressed she was rather a sweet little being, with large eyes 
and a sad mouth. Her face expressed the mingled ex- 
pectancy, dissatisfaction, and depression she felt. She 
wandered about after the dishes were put away, talked a 
little with Minnie, and then decided to go down and stand 
in the door at the foot of the stairs. If Drouet came, she 
could meet him there. Her face took on the semblance 
of a look of happiness as she put on her hat to go below. 

" Carrie doesn't seem to like her place very well," said 



58 SISTER CARRIE 

Minnie to her husband when the latter came out, paper 
in hand, to sit in the dining-room a few minutes. 

" She ought to keep it for a time, anyhow," said Han- 
son. " Has she gone downstairs? " 

" Yes," said Minnie. 

" I'd tell her to keep it if I were you. She might be 
here weeks without getting another one." 

Minnie said she would, and Hanson read his paper. 

"If I were you," he said a little later, " I wouldn't let 
her stand in the door down there. It don't look good." 

" I'll tell her," said Minnie. 

The life of the streets continued for a long time to in- 
terest Carrie. She never wearied of wondering where the 
people in the cars were going or what their enjoyments 
were. Her imagination trod a very narrow round, always 
winding up at points which concerned money, looks, 
clothes, or enjoyment. She would have a far-off thought 
of Columbia City now and then, or an irritating rush of 
feeling concerning her experiences of the present day, but, 
on the whole, the little world about her enlisted her whole 
attention. 

The first floor of the building, of which Hanson's flat 
was the third, was occupied by a bakery, and to this, while 
she was standing there, Hanson came down to buy a loaf 
of bread. She was not aware of his presence until he was 
quite near her. 

" I'm after bread," was all he said as he passed. 

The contagion of thought here demonstrated itself. 
While Hanson really came for bread, the thought dwelt 
with him that now he would see what Carrie was doing. 
No sooner did he draw near her with that in mind than she 
felt it. Of course, she had no understanding of what put 
it into her head, but, nevertheless, it aroused in her the 
first shade of real antipathy to him. She knew now that 
she did not like him. He was suspicious. 



SISTER CARRIE 



59 



A thought will colour a world for us. The flow of 
Carrie's meditations had been disturbed, and Hanson had 
not long gone upstairs before she followed. She had real- 
ised with the lapse of the quarter hours that Drouet was 
not coming, and somehow she felt a little resentful, a little 
as if she had been forsaken — was not good enough. She 
went upstairs, where everything was silent. Minnie was 
sewing by a lamp at the table. Hanson had already 
turned in for the night. In her weariness and disappoint- 
ment Carrie did no more than announce that she was 
going to bed. 

" Yes, you'd better," returned Minnie. " You've got 
to get up early, you know." 

The morning was no better. Hanson was just going 
out the door as Carrie came from her room. Minnie tried 
to talk with her during breakfast, but there was not much 
of interest which they could mutually discuss. As on the 
previous morning, Carrie walked down town, for she be- 
gan to realise now that her four-fifty would not even allow 
her car fare after she paid her board. This seemed a 
miserable arrangement. But the morning light swept 
away the first misgivings of the day, as morning light is 
ever wont to do. 

At the shoe factory she put in a long day, scarcely 
so wearisome as the preceding, but considerably less 
novel. The head foreman, on his round, stopped by her 
machine. 

" Where did you come from ? " he inquired. 

" Mr. Brown hired me," she replied. 

" Oh, he did, eh ! " and then, " See that you keep things 
going." 

The machine girls impressed her even less favourably. 
They seemed satisfied with their lot, and were in a sense 
" common." Carrie had more imagination than they. 
She was not used to slang. Her instinct in the matter 



60 SISTER CARRIE 

of dress was naturally better. She disliked to listen to the 
girl next to her, who was rather hardened by experience. 

" I'm going to quit this," she heard her remark to her 
neighbour. " What with the stipend and being up late, 
it's too much for me health." 

They were free with the fellows, young and old, about 
the place, and exchanged banter in rude phrases, which at 
first shocked her. She saw that she was taken to be of 
the same sort and addressed accordingly. 

" Hello," remarked one of the stout-wristed sole-work- 
ers to her at noon. " You're a daisy." He really ex- 
pected to hear the common " Aw! go chase yourself! " in 
return, and was sufficiently abashed, by Carrie's silently 
moving away, to retreat, awkwardly grinning. 

That night at the flat she was even more lonely— the 
dull situation was becoming harder to endure. She could 
see that the Hansons seldom or never had any company. 
Standing at the street door looking out, she ventured to 
walk out a little way. Her easy gait and idle manner 
attracted attention of an offensive but common sort. She 
was slightly taken back at the overtures of a well-dressed 
man of thirty, who in passing looked at her, reduced his 
pace, turned back, and said : 

" Out for a little stroll, are you, this evening? " 

Carrie looked at him in amazement, and then sum- 
moned sufficient thought to reply: " Why, I don't know 
you," backing away as she did so. 

" Oh, that don't matter," said the other affably. 

She bandied no more words with him, but hurried 
away, reaching her own door quite out of breath. There 
was something in the man's look which frightened 
her. 

During the remainder of the week it was very much the 
same. One or two nights she found herself too tired to 
walk home, and expended car fare. She was not very 



SISTER CARRIE 6 1 

strong, and sitting all day affected her back. She went to 
bed one night before Hanson. 

Transplantation is not always successful in the matter 
of flowers or maidens. It requires sometimes a richer 
soil, a better atmosphere to continue even a natural 
growth. It would have been better if her acclimatization 
had been more gradual — less rigid. She would have done 
better if she had not secured a position so quickly, and had 
seen more of the city which she constantly troubled to 
know about. 

On the first morning it rained she found that she had 
no umbrella. Minnie loaned her one of hers, which was 
worn and faded. There was the kind of vanity in Carrie 
that troubled at this. She went to one of the great de- 
partment stores and bought herself one, using a dollar 
and a quarter of her small store to pay for it. 

"What did you do that for, Carrie?" asked Minnie, 
when she saw it. 

" Oh, I need one," said Carrie. 

" You foolish girl." 

Carrie resented this, though she did not reply. She 
was not going to be a common shop-girl, she thought; 
they need not think it, either. 

On the first Saturday night Carrie paid her board, four 
dollars. Minnie had a quaver of conscience as she took 
it, but did not know how to explain to Hanson if she took 
less. That worthy gave up just four dollars less toward 
the household expenses with a smile of satisfaction. He 
contemplated increasing his Building and Loan pay- 
ments. As for Carrie, she studied over the problem of 
finding clothes and amusement on fifty cents a week. 
She brooded over this until she was in a state of mental 
rebellion. 

" I'm going up the street for a walk," she said after 
supper. 



62 SISTER CARRIE 

" Not alone, are you? " asked Hanson. 

" Yes," returned Carrie. 

" I wouldn't," said Minnie. 

" I want to see something," said Carrie, and by the tone 
she put into the last word they realised for the first time 
she was not pleased with them. 

" What's the matter with her? " asked Hanson, when 
she went into the front room to get her hat. 

" I don't know," said Minnie. 

" Well, she ought to know better than to want to go out 
alone." 

Carrie did not go very far, after all. She returned and 
stood in the door. The next day they went out to Gar- 
field Park, but it did not please her. She did not look 
well enough. In the shop next day she heard the highly 
coloured reports which girls give of their trivial amuse- 
ments. They had been happy. On several days it rained 
and she used up car fare. One night she got thoroughly 
soaked, going to catch the car at Van Buren Street. All 
that evening she sat alone in the front room looking out 
upon the street, where the lights were reflected on the wet 
pavements, thinking. She had imagination enough to be 
moody. 

On Saturday she paid another four dollars and pocketed 
her fifty cents in despair. The speaking acquaintanceship 
which she formed with some of the girls at the shop dis- 
covered to her the fact that they had more of their earn- 
ings to use for themselves than she did. They had young 
men of the kind whom she, since her experience with 
Drouet, felt above, who took them about. She came to 
thoroughly dislike the light-headed young fellows of the 
shop. Not one of them had a show of refinement. She 
saw only their workday side. 

There came a day when the first premonitory blast of 
winter swept over the city. It scudded the fleecy clouds 



SISTER CARRIE 63 

in the heavens, trailed long, thin streamers of smoke from 
the tall stacks, and raced about the streets and corners in 
sharp and sudden puffs. Carrie now felt the problem of 
winter clothes. What was she to do? She had no winter 
jacket, no hat, no shoes. It was difficult to speak to 
Minnie about this, but at last she summoned the courage. 

" I don't know what I'm going to do about clothes," 
she said one evening when they were together. " I need 
a hat." 

Minnie looked serious. 

" Why don't you keep part of your money and buy 
yourself one? " she suggested, worried over the situation 
which the withholding of Carrie's money would create. 

" I'd like to for a week or so, if you don't mind," ven- 
tured Carrie. 

" Could you pay two dollars? " asked Minnie. 

Carrie readily acquiesced, glad to escape the trying situ- 
ation, and liberal now that she saw a way out. She was 
elated and began figuring at once. She needed a hat first 
of all. How Minnie explained to Hanson she never knew. 
He said nothing at all, but there were thoughts in the air 
which left disagreeable impressions. 

The new arrangement might have worked if sickness 
had not intervened. It blew up cold after a rain one after- 
noon when Carrie was still without a jacket. She came 
out of the warm shop at six and shivered as the wind 
struck her. In the morning she was sneezing, and going 
down town made it worse. That day her bones ached and 
she felt light-headed. Towards evening she felt very ill, 
and when she reached home was not hungry. Minnie 
noticed her drooping actions and asked her about herself. 

" I don't know," said Carrie. " I feel real bad." 

She hung about the stove, suffered a chattering chill, 
and went to bed sick. The next morning she was thor- 
oughly feverish. 



64 SISTER CARRIE 

Minnie was truly distressed at this, but maintained a 
kindly demeanour. Hanson said perhaps she had better 
go back home for a while. When she got up after three 
days, it was taken for granted that her position was lost. 
The winter was near at hand, she had no clothes, and now 
she was out of work. 

"I don't know," said Carrie; "I'll go down Monday 
and see if I can't get something." 

If anything, her efforts were more poorly rewarded on 
this ,trial than the last. Her clothes were nothing suitable 
for fall wearing. Her last money she had spent for a hat. 
For three days she wandered about, utterly dispirited. 
The attitude of the flat was fast becoming unbearable. 
She hated to think of going back there each evening. 
Hanson was so cold. She knew it could not last much 
longer. Shortly she would have to give up and go home. 

On the fourth day she was down town all day, having 
borrowed ten cents for lunch from Minnie. She had ap- 
plied in the cheapest kind of places without success. She 
even answered for a waitress in a small restaurant where 
she saw a card in the window, but they wanted an experi- 
enced girl. She moved through the thick throng of 
strangers, utterly subdued in spirit. Suddenly a hand 
pulled her arm and turned her about. 

" Well, well! " said a voice. In the first glance she be- 
held Drouet. He was not only rosy-cheeked, but radiant. 
He was the essence of sunshine and good-humour. 
" Why, how are you, Carrie? " he said. " You're a daisy. 
Where have you been? " 

Carrie smiled under his irresistible flood of geniality. 

" I've been out home," she said. 

" Well," he said, " I saw you across the street there. I 
thought it was you. I was just coming out to your place. 
How are you, anyhow? " 

" I'm all right," said Carrie, smiling. 



SISTER CARRIE 65 

Drouet looked her over and saw something different. 

" Well," he said, " I want to talk to you. You're not 
going anywhere in particular, are you? " 

" Not just now," said Carrie. 

" Let's go up here and have something to eat, George! 
but I'm glad to see you again." 

She felt so relieved in his radiant presence, so much 
looked after and cared for, that she assented gladly, 
though with the slightest air of holding back. 

" Well," he said, as he took her arm — and there was an 
exuberance of good-fellowship in the word which fairly 
warmed the cockles of her heart. 

They went through Monroe Street to the old Windsor 
dining-room, which was then a large, comfortable place, 
with an excellent cuisine and substantial service, Drouet 
selected a table close by the window, where the busy rout 
of the street could be seen. He loved the changing pano- 
rama of the street — to see and be seen as he dined. 

" Now," he said, getting Carrie and himself comfortably 
settled, " what will you have? " 

Carrie looked over the large bill of fare which the 
waiter handed her without really considering it. She was 
very hungry, and the things she saw there awakened her 
desires, but the high prices held her attention. ", Half 
broiled spring chicken— seventy-five. Sirloin steak with 
mushrooms— one twenty-five," She had dimly heard of 
these things, but it seemed strange to be called to order 
from the list. 

" I'll fix this," exclaimed Drouet. " Sst! waiter/' 

That officer of the board, a full-chested, round-faced 
negro, approached, and inclined his ear. 

" Sirloin with mushrooms," said Drouet. '■ Stuffed 
tomatoes." 

" Yassah," assented the negro, nodding his head. 

" Hashed brown potatoes," 
5 



66 SISTER CARRIE 

" Yassah." 

" Asparagus." 

" Yassah." 

" And a pot of coffee." 

Drouet turned to Carrie. " I haven't had a thing since 
breakfast. Just got in from Rock Island. I was going 
off to dine when I saw you." 

Carrie smiled and smiled. 

" What have you been doing? " he went on. " Tell me 
all about yourself. How is your sister? " 

" She's well," returned Carrie, answering the last query. 

He looked at her hard. 

" Say," he said, " you haven't been sick, have you? " 

Carrie nodded. 

"Well, now, that's a blooming shame, isn't it? You 
don't look very well. I thought you looked a little pale. 
What have you been doing? " 

" Working," said Carrie. 

" You don't say so ! At what? " 

She told him. 

" Rhodes, Morgenthau and Scott — why, I know that 
house. Over here on Fifth Avenue, isn't it? They're a 
close-fisted concern. What made you go there? " 

" I couldn't get anything else," said Carrie frankly. 

" Well, that's an outrage," said Drouet. " You oughtn't 
to be working for those people. Have the factory right 
back of the store, don't they? " 

" Yes," said Carrie. 

" That isn't a good house," said Drouet. " You don't 
want to work at anything like that, anyhow." 

He chattered on at a great rate, asking questions, ex- 
plaining things about himself, telling her what a good 
restaurant it was, until the waiter returned with an im- 
mense tray, bearing the hot savoury dishes which had 
been ordered. Drouet fairly shone in the matter of serv- 



SISTER CARRIE 67 

ing. He appeared to great advantage behind the white 
napery and silver platters of the table and displaying his 
arms with a knife and fork. As he cut the meat his rings 
almost spoke. His new suit creaked as he stretched to 
reach the plates, break the bread, and pour the coffee. He 
helped Carrie to a rousing plateful and contributed the 
warmth of his spirit to her body until she was a new girl. 
He was a splendid fellow in the true popular understand- 
ing of the term, and captivated Carrie completely. 

That little soldier of fortune took her good turn in an 
easy way. She felt a little out of place, but the great room 
soothed her and the view of the well-dressed throng out- 
side seemed a splendid thing. Ah, what was it not to 
have money! What a thing it was to be able to come in 
here and dine! Drouet must be fortunate. He rode on 
trains, dressed in such nice clothes, was so strong, and 
ate in these fine places. He seemed quite a figure of 
a man, and she wondered at his friendship and regard 
for her. 

" So you lost your place because you got sick, eh? " he 
said. " What are you going to do now? " 

" Look around," she said, a thought of the need that 
hung outside this fine restaurant like a hungry dog at her 
heels passing into her eyes. 

" Oh, no," said Drouet, " that won't do. How long 
have you been looking? " 

" Four days," she answered. 

" Think of that! " he said, addressing some problemati- 
cal individual. " You oughtn't to be doing anything like 
that. These girls," and he waved an inclusion of all shop 
and factory girls, " don't get anything. Why, you can't 
live on it, can you? " 

He was a brotherly sort of creature in his demeanour. 
When he had scouted the idea of that kind of toil, he took 
another tack. Carrie was really very pretty. Even then, 



68 SISTER CARRIE 

in her commonplace garb, her figure was evidently not 
bad, and her eyes were large and gentle. Drouet looked 
at her and his thoughts reached home. She felt his ad- 
miration. It was powerfully backed by his liberality and 
good-humour. She felt that she liked him — that she 
could continue to like him ever so much. There was 
something even richer than that, running as a hidden 
strain, in her mind. Every little while her eyes would 
meet his, and by that means the interchanging current 
of feeling would be fully connected. 

" Why don't you stay down town and go to the theatre 
with me?" he said, hitching his chair closer. The table 
was not very wide. 

" Oh, I can't," she said. 

" What are you going to do to-night? " 

" Nothing," she answered, a little drearily. 

" You don't like out there where you are, do you? " 

" Oh, I don't know." 

" What are you going to do if you don't get work? " 

" Go back home, I guess." 

There was the least quaver in her voice as she said this. 
Somehow, the influence he was exerting was powerful. 
They came to an understanding of each other without 
words — he of her situation, she of the fact that he realised 
it. 

" No," he said, " you can't make it! " genuine sympathy 
filling his mind for the time. " Let me help you. You 
take some of my money." 

" Oh, no! " she said, leaning back. 

" What are you going to do? " he said. 

She sat meditating, merely shaking her head. 

He looked at her quite tenderly for his kind. There 
were some loose bills in his vest pocket — greenbacks. 
They were soft and noiseless, and he got his fingers about 
them and crumpled them up in his hand. 



SISTER CARRIE 69 

" Come on," he said, " I'll see you through all right. 
Get yourself some clothes." 

It was the first reference he had made to that subject, 
and now she realised how bad off she was. In his crude 
way he had struck the key-note. Her lips trembled a little. 

She had her hand out on the table before her. They 
were quite alone in their corner, and he put his larger, 
warmer hand over it. 

" Aw, come, Carrie," he said, " what can you do alone ? 
Let me help you." 

He pressed her hand gently and she tried to withdraw 
it. At this he held it fast, and she no longer protested. 
Then he slipped the greenbacks he had into her palm, and 
when she began to protest, he whispered: 

" I'll loan it to you— that's all right. I'll loan it to you." 

He made her take it. She felt bound to him by a 
strange tie of affection now. They went out, and . he 
walked with her far out south toward Polk Street, talking. 

" You don't want to live with those people? " he said in 
one place, abstractedly. Carrie heard it, but it made only 
a slight impression. 

" Come down and meet me to-morrow," he said, " and 
we'll go to the matinee. Will you ? " 

Carrie protested a while, but acquiesced. 

" You're not doing anything. Get yourself a nice pair 
of shoes and a jacket." 

She scarcely gave a thought to the complication which 
would trouble her when he was gone. In his presence, 
she was of his own hopeful, easy-way-out mood. 

" Don't you bother about those people out there," he 
said at parting. " I'll help you." 

Carrie left him, feeling as though a great arm had 
slipped out before her to draw off trouble. The money 
she had accepted was two soft, green, handsome ten- 
dollar bills. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE LURE OF THE MATERIAL : BEAUTY SPEAKS FOR 
ITSELF 

The true meaning of money yet remains to be popularly 
explained and comprehended. When each individual 
realises for himself that this thing primarily stands for and 
should only be accepted as a moral due — that it should 
be paid out as honestly stored energy, and not as a, 
usurped privilege — many of our social, religious, and polit- 
ical troubles will have permanently passed. As for Car- 
rie, her understanding of the moral significance of money 
was the popular understanding, nothing more. The old 
definition : " Money : something everybody else has and I 
must get," would have expressed her understanding of it 
thoroughly. Some of it she now held in her hand — two 
soft, green ten-dollar bills — and she felt that she was im- 
mensely better off for the having of them. It was some- 
thing that was power in itself. One of her order of mind 
would have been content to be cast away upon a desert 
island with a bundle of money, and only the long strain 
of starvation would have taught her that in some cases 
it could have no value. Even then she would have had 
no conception of the relative value of the thing; her one 
thought would, undoubtedly, have concerned the pity of 
having so much power and the inability to use it. 

The poor girl thrilled as she walked away from Drouet. 
She felt ashamed in part because she had been weak 
enough to. take it, but her need was so dire, she was still 



SISTER CARRIE 7 1 

glad. 'Now she would have a nice new jacket! Now she 
would buy a nice pair of pretty button shoes. She would 
get stockings, too, and a skirt, and, and — until already, as 
in the matter of her prospective salary, she had got be- 
yond, in her desires, twice the purchasing power of her 
bills. 

She conceived a true estimate of Drouet. To her, and 
indeed to all the world, he was a nice, good-hearted man. 
There was nothing evil in the fellow. He gave her the 
money out of a good heart — out of a realisation of her 
want. He would not have given the same amount to a 
poor young man, but we must not forget that a poor 
young man could not, in the nature of things, have ap- 
pealed to him like a poor young girl. Femininity affected 
his feelings. He was the creature of an inborn desire. 
Yet no beggar could have caught his eye and said, " My 
God, mister, I'm starving," but he would gladly have 
handed out what was considered the proper portion to 
give beggars and thought no more about it. There 
would have been no speculation, no philosophising. He 
had no mental process in him worthy the dignity of either 
of those terms. In his good clothes and fine health, he 
was a merry, unthinking moth of the lamp. Deprived of 
his position, and struck by a few of the involved and baf- 
fling forces which sometimes play upon man, he would 
have been as helpless as Carrie — as helpless, as non- 
understanding, as pitiable, if you will, as she. 

Now, in regard to his pursuit of women, he meant them 
no harm, because he did not conceive of the relation 
which he hoped to hold with them as being harmful. He 
loved to make advances to women, to have them succumb 
to his charms, not because he was a cold-blooded, dark, 
scheming villain, but because his inborn desire urged him 
to that as a chief delight. He was vain, he was boastful, 
he was as deluded by fine clothes as any silly-headed girl. 



11 SISTER CARRIE 

A truly deep-dyed villain could have hornswaggled him 
as readily as he could have flattered a pretty shop-girl. 
His fine success as a salesman lay in his geniality and the 
thoroughly reputable standing of his house. He bobbed 
about among men, a veritable bundle of enthusiasm— no 
power worthy the name of intellect, no thoughts worthy 
the adjective noble, no feelings long continued in one 
Strain. A Madame Sappho would have called him a pig; 
a Shakespeare would have said " my merry child; " old, 
drinking Caryoe thought him a clever, successful business 
man. In short, he was as good as his intellect conceived. 

The best proof that there was something open and 
commendable about the man was the fact that Carrie took 
the money. No deep, sinister soul with ulterior motives 
COUld have given her fifteen cents under the guise of 
friendship. The unintellectual are not so helpless. Na- 
ture has taught the beasts of the field to fly when some 
unheralded danger threatens. She has put into the small, 
unwise head of the chipmunk the untutored fear of poi- 
sons. "He keepeth His creatures whole," was- not written 
of beasts alone. Carrie was unwise, and, therefore, like 
the sheep in its unwisdom, strong in feeling. The in- 
stinct of self-protection, strong in all such natures, was 
roUsed but feebly, if at all, by the overtures of Drouet. 

When Carrie had gone, he felicitated himself upon her 
good opinion. By George, it was a shame young girls 
had to be knocked around like that. Cold weather com- 
ing on and no clothes. Tough. He would go around 
to Fitzgerald and May's and get a cigar. It made him 
feel light of foot as he thought about her. 

Carrie reached home in high good spirits, which she 
could scarcely conceal. The possession of the money in- 
volved a number of points which perplexed her seriously. 
How should she buy any clothes when Minnie knew that 
she had no money? She had no sooner entered the flat 



SISTER CARRIE 73 

than this point was settled for her . It could not be done. 
She could think of no way of explaining. 

" How did you come out? " asked Minnie, referring to 
the day. 

Carrie had none of the small deception which could feel 
one thing and say something directly opposed. She 
would prevaricate, but it would be in the line of her feel- 
ings at least. So instead of complaining when she felt 
so good, she said: 

" I have the promise of something." 

"Where?" 

" At the Boston Store." 

" Is it sure promised?" questioned Minnie. 

" Well, I'm to find out to-morrow," returned Carrie, 
disliking to draw out a lie any longer than was necessary. 

Minnie felt the atmosphere of good feeling which Car- 
rie brought with her. She felt now was the time to ex- 
press to Carrie the state of Hanson's feeling about her 
entire Chicago venture. 

" If you shouldn't get it — " she paused, troubled for 
an easy way. 

" If I don't get something pretty soon, I think I'll go 
home." 

Minnie saw her chance. 

" Sven thinks it might be best for the winter, anyhow." 

The situation flashed on Carrie at once. They were 
unwilling to keep her any longer, out of work. She did 
not blame Minnie, she did not blame Hanson very much. 
Now, as she sat there digesting the remark, she was glad 
she had Drouet's money. 

" Yes," she said after a few moments, " I thought of 
doing that." 

She did not explain that the thought, however, had 
aroused all the antagonism of her nature. Columbia 
City, what was there for her? She knew its dull, little 



74 SISTER CARRIE 

round by heart. Here was the great, mysterious city 
which was still a magnet for her. What she had seen 
only suggested its possibilities. Now to turn back on it 
and live the little old life out there — she almost exclaimed 
against the thought. 

She had reached home early and went in the front room 
to think. What could she do? She could not buy new 
shoes and wear them here. She would need to save part 
of the twenty to pay her fare home. She did not want to 
borrow of Minnie for that. And yet, how could she ex- 
plain where she even got that money ? If she could only 
get enough to let her out easy. 

She went over the tangle again and again. Here, in 
the morning, Drouet would expect to see her in a new 
jacket, and that couldn't be. The Hansons expected her 
to go home, and she wanted to get away, and yet she did 
not want to go home. In the light of the way they would 
look on her getting money without work, the taking of if 
now seemed dreadful. She began to be ashamed. The 
whole situation depressed her. It was all so clear when 
she was with Drouet. Now it was all so tangled, so hope- 
less — much worse than it was before, because she had the 
semblance of aid in her hand which she could not use. 

Her spirits sank so that at supper Minnie felt that she 
must have had another hard day. Carrie finally decided 
that she would give the money back. It was wrong to 
take it. She would go down in the morning and hunt for 
work. At noon she would meet Drouet as agreed and tell 
him. At this decision her heart sank, until she was the 
old Carrie of distress. 

Curiously, she could not hold the money in her hand 
without feeling some relief. Even after all her depressing 
conclusions, she could sweep away all thought about the 
matter and then the twenty dollars seemed a wonderful 
and delightful thing. Ah, money, money, money ! What 



SISTER CARRIE 75 

a thing it was to have. How plenty of it would clear 
away all these troubles. 

In the morning she got up and started out a little early. 
Her decision to hunt for work was moderately strong, but 
the money in her pocket, after all her troubling over it, 
made the work question the least shade less terrible. She 
walked into the wholesale district, but as the thought of 
applying came with each passing concern, her heart 
shrank. What a coward she was, she thought to herself. 
Yet she had applied so often. It would be the same old 
story. She walked on and on, and finally did go into one 
place, with the old result. She came out feeling that luck 
was against her. It was no use. 

Without much thinking, she reached Dearborn Street. 
Here was the great Fair store with its multitude of de- 
livery wagons about, its long window display, its crowd of 
shoppers. It readily changed her thoughts, she who was 
so weary of them. It was here that she had intended to 
come and get her new things. Now for relief from dis- 
tress; she thought she would go in and see. She would 
look at the jackets. 

There is nothing in this world more delightful than that 
middle state in which we mentally balance at times, pos- 
sessed of the means, lured by desire, and yet deterred by 
conscience or want of decision. When Carrie began 
wandering around the store amid the fine displays she was 
in this mood. Her original experience in this same place 
had given her a high opinion of its merits. Now she 
paused at each individual .bit of finery, where before she 
had hurried on. Her woman's heart was warm with de- 
sire for them. How would she look in this, how charm- 
ing that would make her! She came upon the corset 
counter and paused in rich reverie as she noted the dainty 
concoctions of colour and lace there displayed. If she 
would only make up her mind, she could have one of 



j6 SISTER CARRIE 

those now. She lingered in the jewelry department. She 
saw the earrings, the bracelets, the pins, the chains. What 
would she not have given if she could have had them all! 
She would look fine too, if only she had some of these 
things. 

The jackets were the greatest attraction. When she 
entered the store, she already had her heart fixed upon 
the peculiar little tan jacket with large mother-of-pearl 
buttons which was all the rage that fall. Still she de- 
lighted to convince herself that there was nothing she 
would like better. She went about among the glass cases 
and racks where these things were displayed, and satis- 
fied herself that the one she thought of was the proper one. 
All the time she wavered in mind, now persuading herself 
that she could buy it right away if she chose, now recall- 
ing to herself the actual condition. At last the noon hour 
was dangerously near, and she had done nothing. She 
must go now and return the money. 

Drouet was on the corner when she came up. 

" Hello," he said, " where is the jacket and " — looking 
down — " the shoes? " 

Carrie had thought to lead up to her decision in some 
intelligent way, but this swept the whole fore-schemed 
situation by the board. 

" I came to tell you that — that I can't take the money." 

" Oh, that's it, is it? " he returned. " Well, you come 
on with me. Let's go over here to Partridge's." 

Carrie walked with him. Behold, the whole fabric of 
doubt and impossibility had slipped from her mind. She 
could not get at the points that were so serious, the things 
she was going to make plain to him. 

" Have you had lunch yet? Of course you haven't. 
Let's go in here," and Drouet turned into one of the very 
nicely furnished restaurants off State Street, in Monroe. 

" I mustn't take the money," said Carrie, after they 



SISTER CARRIE yy 

were settled in a cosey corner, and Drouet had ordered 
the lunch. " I can't wear those things out there. They 
— they wouldn't know where I got them." 

" What do you want to do," he smiled, " go without 
them?" 

" I think I'll go home," she said, wearily. 

" Oh, come," he said, " you've been thinking it over too 
long. I'll tell you what you do. You say you can't wear 
them out there. Why don't you rent a furnished room 
and leave them in that for a week? " 

Carrie shook her head. Like all women, she was there 
to object and be convinced. It was for him to brush 
the doubts away and clear the path if he could. 

" Why are you going home? " he asked. 

" Oh, I can't get anything here." 

" They won't keep you? " he remarked, intuitively. 

" They can't," said Carrie. 

" I'll tell you what you do," he said. " You come with 
me. I'll take care of you." 

Carrie heard this passively. The peculiar state which 
she was in made it sound like the welcome breath of an 
open door. Drouet seemed of her own spirit and pleas- 
ing. He was clean, handsome, well-dressed, and sympa- 
thetic. His voice was the voice of a friend. 

" What can you do back at Columbia City? " he went 
on, rousing by the words in Carrie's mind a picture of the 
dull world she had left. " There isn't anything down 
there. Chicago's the place. You can get a nice room 
here and some clothes, and then you can do something." 

Carrie looked out through the window into the busy 
street. There it was, the admirable, great city, so fine 
when you are not poor. An elegant coach, with a pran- 
cing pair of bays, passed by, carrying in its upholstered 
depths a young lady. 

" What will you have if you go back? " asked Drouet. 



78 SISTER CARRIE 

There was no subtle undercurrent to the question. He 
imagined that she would have nothing at all of the things 
he thought worth while. ' 

Carrie sat still, looking out. She was wondering what 
she could do. They would be expecting her to go home 
this week. 

Drouet turned to the subject of the clothes she was 
going to buy. 

" Why not get yourself a nice little jacket? You've got 
to have it. I'll loan you the money. You needn't worry 
about taking it. You can get yourself a nice room by 
yourself. I won't hurt you." 

Carrie saw the drift, but could not express her thoughts. 
She felt more than ever the helplessness of her case. 

" If I could only get something to do," she said. 

" Maybe you can," went on Drouet, " if you stay here. 
You can't if you go away. They won't let you stay out 
there. Now, why not let me get you a nice room? I 
won't bother you — you needn't be afraid. Then, when 
you get fixed up, maybe you could get something." 

He looked at her pretty face and it vivified his mental 
resources. She was a sweet little mortal to him — there 
was no doubt of that. She seemed to have some power 
back of her actions. She was not like the common run 
of store-girls. She wasn't silly. 

In reality, Carrie had more imagination than he — more 
taste. It was a finer mental strain in her that made pos- 
sible her depression and loneliness. Her poor clothes were 
neat, and she held her head unconsciously in a dainty way. 

" Do you think I could get something? " she asked. 

" Sure," he said, reaching over and filling her cup with 
tea. " I'll help you." 

She looked at him, and he laughed reassuringly. 

" Now I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll go over here 
to Partridge's and you pick out what you want. Then 



SISTER CARRIE 79 

we'll look around for a room for you. You can leave 
the things there. Then we'll go to the show to-night." 

Carrie shook her head. 

" Well, you can go out to the flat then, that'-s all right. 
You don't need to stay in the room. Just take it and 
leave your things there." 

She hung in doubt about this until the dinner was 
over. 

" Let's go over and look at the jackets," he said. 

Together they went. In the store they found that 
shine and rustle of new things which immediately laid 
hold of Carrie's heart. Under the influence of a good 
dinner and Drouet's radiating presence, the scheme pro- 
posed seemed feasible. She looked about and picked a 
jacket like the one which she had admired at The Fair. 
When she got it in her hand it seemed so much nicer. 
The saleswoman helped her on with it, and, by accident, 
it fitted perfectly. Drouet's face lightened as he saw the 
improvement. She looked quite smart. 

" That's the thing," he said. 

Carrie turned before the glass. She could not help 
feeling pleased as she looked at herself. A warm glow 
crept into her cheeks. 

" That's the thing," said Drouet. " Now pay for it." 

" It's nine dollars," said Carrie. 

" That's all right — take it," said Drouet. 

She reached in her purse and took out one of the bills. 
The woman asked if she would wear the coat and went 
off. In a few minutes she was back and the purchase was 
closed. 

From Partridge's they went to a shoe store, where 
Carrie was fitted for shoes. Drouet stood by, and when 
he saw how nice they looked, said, " Wear them." Car- 
rie shook her head, however. She was thinking of re- 
turning to the flat. He bought her a purse for one thing, 



80 SISTER CARRIE 

and a pair of gloves for another, and let her buy the 
stockings. 

" To-morrow," he said, " you come down here and buy 
yourself a skirt," 

In all of Carrie's actions there was a touch of misgiving. 
The deeper she sank into the entanglement, the more she 
imagined that the thing hung upon the few remaining 
things she had not done. Since she had not done these, 
there was a way out. 

Drouet knew a place in Wabash Avenue where there 
were rooms. He showed Carrie the outside of these, an<d 
said: " Now, you're my sister." He carried the arrange- 
ment off with an easy hand when it came to the selection, 
looking around, criticising, opining. " Her trunk will be 
here in a day or so," he observed to the landlady, who was 
very pleased. 

When they were alone, Drouet did not change in the 
least. He talked in the same general way as if they were 
out in the street. Carrie left her things. 

" Now," said Drouet, " why don't you move to-night? " 

" Oh, I can't," said Carrie. 

"Why not?" 

" I don't want to leave them so." 

He took that up as they walked along the avenue. It 
was a warm afternoon. The sun had come out and the 
wind had died down. As he talked with Carrie, he se- 
cured an accurate detail of the atmosphere of the flat. 

" Come out of it," he said, " they won't care. I'll help 
you get along." 

She listened until her misgivings vanished. He would 
show her about a little and then help her get something. 
He really imagined that he would. He would be out on 
the road and she could be working. 

" Now, I'll tell you what you do," he said, H you go out 
there and get whatever you want and come away." 



SISTER CARRIE 8 1 

She thought a long time about this. Finally she 
agreed. He would come out as far as Peoria Street and 
wait for her. She was to meet him at half-past eight. At 
half-past five she reached home, and at six her determina- 
tion was hardened. 

" So you didn't get it? " said Minnie, referring to Car- 
rie's story of the Boston Store. . 

Carrie looked at her out of the corner of her eye. 
" No," she answered. 

" I don't think you'd better try any more this fall," said 
Minnie. 

Carrie said nothing. 

When Hanson came liome he wore the same inscru- 
table demeanour. He washed in silence and went off to 
read his paper. At dinner Carrie felt a little nervous. 
The strain of her own plans was considerable, and the 
feeling that she was not welcome here was strong. 

" Didn't find anything, eh? " said Hanson. 

" No." 

He turned to his eating again, the thought that it was 
a burden to have her here dwelling in his mind. She 
would have to go home, that was all. Once she was 
away, there would be no more coming back in the spring. 

Carrie was afraid of what she was going to do, but she 
was relieved to know that this condition was ending. They 
would not care. Hanson particularly would be glad 
when she went. He would not care what became of her. 

After dinner she- went into the bathroom, where they 
could not disturb her, and wrote a little note. 

" Good-bye, Minnie," it read. " I'm not going home. 
I'm going to stay in Chicago a little while and look for 
work. Don't worry. I'll be all right." 

In the front room Hanson was reading his paper. As 
usual, she helped Minnie clear away the dishes and 
straighten up. Then she said: 
6 



82 SISTER CARRIE 

" I guess I'll stand down at the door a little while." 
She could scarcely prevent her voice from trembling. 

Minnie remembered Hanson's remonstrance. 

"Sven doesn't think it looks good to stand down there," 
she said. 

" Doesn't he? " said Carrie. " I won't do it any more 
after this." 

She put on her hat and fidgeted around the table in the 
little bedroom, wondering where to slip the note. Finally 
she put it under Minnie's hair-brush. 

When she had closed the hall-door, she paused a mo- 
ment and wondered what they would think. Some 
thought of the queerness of her deed affected her. She 
went slowly down the stairs. She looked back up the 
lighted step, and then affected to stroll up the street. 
When she reached the corner she quickened her pace. 

As she was hurrying away, Hanson came back to his 
wife. 

" Is Carrie down at the door again? " he asked. 

" Yes," said Minnie; " she said she wasn't going to do 
it any more." 

He went over to the baby where it was playing on the 
floor and began to poke his finger at it. 

Drouet was on the corner waiting, in good spirits. 

" Hello, Carrie," he said, as a sprightly figure of a girl 
drew near him. " Got here safe, did you? Well, we'll 
take a car." 



CHAPTER VIII 

INTIMATIONS BY WINTER: AN AMBASSADOR SUMMONED 

Among the forces which sweep and play throughout 
the universe, untutored man is but a wisp in the wind. 
Our civilisation is still in a middle stage, scarcely beast, 
in that it is no longer wholly guided by instinct; scarcely 
human, in that it is not yet wholly guided by reason. On 
the tiger no responsibility rests. We see him aligned by 
nature with the forces of life — he is born into their keep- 
ing and without thought he is protected. We see man 
far removed from the lairs of the jungles, his innate in- 
stincts dulled by too near an approach to free-will, his 
free-will not sufficiently developed to replace his instincts 
and afford him perfect guidance. He is becoming too 
wise to hearken always to instincts and desires; he is still 
too weak to always prevail against them. As a beast, the 
forces of life aligned him with them; as a man, he has not 
yet wholly learned to align himself with the forces. In 
this intermediate stage he wavers — neither drawn in har- 
mony with nature by his instincts nor yet wisely putting 
himself into harmony by his own free-will. He is even 
as a wisp in the wind, moved by every breath of passion, 
acting now by his will and now by his instincts, erring 
with one, only to retrieve by the other, falling by one, only 
to rise by the other — a creature of incalculable variability. 
We have the consolation of knowing that evolution is ever 
in action, that the ideal is a light that cannot fail. He will 
not forever balance thus between good and evil. When 



84 SISTER CARRIE 

this jangle of free-will and instinct shall have been ad- 
justed, when perfect understanding has given the former 
the power to replace the latter entirely, man will no longer 
vary. The needle of understanding will yet point stead- 
fast and unwavering to the distant pole of truth. 

In Carrie — as in how many of our worldlings do they 
not ? — instinct and reason, desire and understanding, were 
at war for the mastery. She followed whither her crav- 
ing led. She was as yet more drawn than she drew. 

When Minnie found the note next morning, after a 
night of mingled wonder and anxiety, which was not ex- 
actly touched by yearning, sorrow, or love, she exclaimed: 
" Well, what do you think of that? " 

"What?" said Hanson. 

" Sister Carrie has gone to live somewhere else." 

Hanson jumped out of bed with more celerity than he 
usually displayed and looked at the note. The only in- 
dication of his thoughts came in the form of a little click- 
ing sound made by his tongue; the sound some people 
make when they wish to urge on a horse. 

" Where do you suppose she's gone to? " said Minnie, 
thoroughly aroused. 

" I don't know," a touch of cynicism lighting his eye. 
" Now she has gone and done it." 

Minnie moved her head in a puzzled way. 

" Oh, oh," she said, " she doesn't know what she has 
done." 

" Well," said Hanson, after a while, sticking his hands 
out before him, " what can you do? " 

Minnie's womanly nature was higher than this. She 
figured the possibilities in such cases. 

" Oh," she said at last, " poor Sister Carrie! " 

At the time of this particular conversation, which oc- 
curred at 5 a. m., that little soldier of fortune was sleeping 
a rather troubled sleep in her new room, alone. 



SISTER CARRIE 85 

Carrie's new state was remarkable in that she saw pos- 
sibilities in it. She was no sensualist, longing to drowse 
sleepily in the lap of luxury. She turned about, troubled 
by her daring, glad of her release, wondering whether she 
would get something to do, wondering what Drouet 
would do. That worthy had his future fixed for him be- 
yond a peradventure. He could not help what he was 
going to do. He could not see clearly enough to wish 
to do differently. He was drawn by his innate desire to 
act the old pursuing part. He would need to delight 
himself with Carrie as surely as he would need to eat his 
heavy breakfast. He might suffer the least rudimentary 
twinge of conscience in whatever he did, and in just so 
far he was evil and sinning. But whatever twinges of 
conscience he might have would be rudimentary, you may 
be sure. 

The next day he called upon Carrie, and she saw him 
in her chamber. He was the same jolly, enlivening soul. 

" Aw," he said, " what are you looking so blue about? 
Come on out to breakfast. You want to get your other 
clothes to-day." 

Carrie looked at him with the hue of shifting thought 
in her large eyes. 

" I wish I could get something to do," she said. 

" You'll get that all right," said Drouet. " What's the 
use worrying right now? Get yourself fixed up. See 
the city. I won't hurt you." 

" I know you won't," she remarked, half truthfully. 

" Got on the new shoes, haven't you? Stick 'em out. 
George, they look fine. Put on your jacket." 

Carrie obeyed. 

" Say, that fits like a T, don't it? " he remarked, feeling 
the set of it at the waist and eyeing it from a few paces 
with real pleasure. " What you need now is a new 
skirt. Let's go to breakfast." 



86 SISTER CARRIE 

Carrie put on her hat. 

" Where are the gloves? " he inquired. 

" Here," she said, taking them out of the bureau 
drawer. 

" Now, come on," he said. 

Thus the first hour of misgiving was swept away. 

It went this way on every occasion. Drouet did not 
leave her much alone. She had time for some lone wan- 
derings, but mostly he filled her hours with sight-seeing. 
At Carson, Pirie's he bought her a nice skirt and shirt 
waist. With his money she purchased the little necessa- 
ries of toilet, until at last she looked quite another maiden. 
The mirror convinced her of a few things which she had 
long believed. She was pretty, yes, indeed! How nice 
her hat set, and weren't her eyes pretty. She caught her 
little red lip with her teeth and felt her first thrill of power. 
Drouet was so good. 

They went to see " The Mikado " one evening, an opera 
which was hilariously popular at that time. Before going, 
they made off for the Windsor dining-room, which was 
in Dearborn Street, a considerable distance from Carrie's 
room. It was blowing up cold, and out of her window 
Carrie could see the western sky, still pink with the fading 
light, but steely blue at the top where it met the dark- 
ness. A long, thin cloud of pink hung in midair, shaped 
like some island in a far-off sea. Somehow the swaying 
of some dead branches of trees across the way brought 
back the picture with which she was familiar when she 
looked from their front window in December days at 
home. 

She paused and wrung her little hands. 

" What's the matter? " said Drouet. 

" Oh, I don't know," she said, her lip trembling. 

He sensed something, and slipped his arm over her 
shoulder, patting her arm. 



SISTER CARRIE 87 

" Come on," he said gently, " you're all right." 

She turned to slip on her jacket. 

" Better wear that boa about your throat to-night." 

They walked north on Wabash to Adams Street and 
then west. The lights in the stores were already shining 
out in gushes of golden hue. The arc lights were sputter- 
ing overhead, and high up were the lighted windows of 
the tall office buildings. The chill wind whipped in and 
out in gusty breaths. Homeward bound, the six o'clock 
throng bumped and jostled. Light overcoats were turned 
up about the ears, hats were pulled down. Little shop- 
girls went fluttering by in pairs and fours, chattering, 
laughing. It was a spectacle of warm-blooded hu- 
manity. 

Suddenly a pair of eyes met Carrie's in recognition. 
They were looking out from a group of poorly dressed 
girls. Their clothes were faded and loose-hanging, their 
jackets old, their general make-up shabby. 

Carrie recognised the glance and the girl. She was one 
of those who worked at the machines in the shoe factory. 
The latter looked, not quite sure, and then turned her 
head and looked. Carrie felt as if some great tide had 
rolled between them. The old dress and the old machine 
came back. She actually started. Drouet didn't notice 
until Carrie bumped into a pedestrian. 

" You must be thinking," he said. 

They dined and went to the theatre. That spectacle 
pleased Carrie immensely. The colour and grace of it 
caught her eye. She had vain imaginings about place 
and power, about far-off lands and magnificent people. 
When it was over, the clatter of coaches and the throng 
of fine ladies made her stare. 

" Wait a minute," said Drouet, holding her back in the 
showy foyer where ladies and gentlemen were moving in 
a social crush, skirts rustling, lace-covered heads nod- 



88 ' SISTER CARRIE 

ding, white teeth showing through parted lips. " Let's 
see." 

" Sixty-seven," the coach-caller was saying, his voice 
lifted in a sort of euphonious cry. " Sixty-seven." 

" Isn't it fine? " said Carrie. 

" Great," said Drouet. He was as much affected by 
this show of finery and gayety as she. He pressed her 
arm warmly. Once she looked up, her even teeth glisten- 
ing through her smiling lips, her eyes alight. As they 
were moving out he whispered down to her, " You look 
lovely! " They were right where the coach-caller was 
swinging open a coach-door and ushering in two 
ladies. 

" You stick to me and we'll have a coach," laughed 
Drouet. 

Carrie scarcely heard, her head was so full of the swirj 
of life. 

They stopped in at a restaurant for a little after-theatre, 
lunch. Just a shade of a thought of the hour entered 
Carrie's head, but there was no household law to govern 
her now. If any habits ever had time to fix upon her, 
they would have operated here. Habits are peculiar 
things. They will drive the really non-religious mind out 
of bed to say prayers that are only a custom and not a 
devotion. The victim of habit, when he has neglected 
the thing which it was his custom to do, feels a little 
scratching in the brain, a little irritating something which 
comes of being out of the rut, and imagines it to be the 
prick of conscience, the still, small voice that is urging 
him ever to righteousness. If the digression is unusual 
enough, the drag of habit will be heavy enough to cause 
the unreasoning victim to return and perform the per- 
functory thing. " Now, bless me," says such a mind, " I 
have done my duty," when, as a matter of fact, it has 
merely done its old, unbreakable trick once again. 



SISTER CARRIE 89 

Carrie had no excellent home principles fixed upon her. 
If she had, she would have been more consciously dis- 
tressed. Now the lunch went off with considerable 
warmth. Under the influence of the varied occurrences, 
the fine, invisible passion which was emanating from 
Drouet, the food, the still unusual luxury, she relaxed and 
heard with open ears. She was again the victim of the 
city's hypnotic influence. 

" Well," said Drouet at last, " we had better be going." 

They had been dawdling over the dishes, and their eyes 
had frequently met. Carrie could not help but feel the 
vibration of force which followed, which, indeed, was his 
gaze. He had a way of touching her hand in explana- 
tion, as if to impress a fact upon her. He touched it now 
as he spoke of going. 

They arose and went out into the street. The down- 
town section was now bare, save for a few whistling stroll- 
ers, a few owl cars, a few open resorts whose windows 
were still bright. Out Wabash Avenue they strolled, 
Drouet still pouring forth his volume of small informa- 
tion. He had Carrie's arm in his, and held it closely as 
he explained. Once in a while, after some witticism, he 
would look down, and his eyes would meet hers. At last 
they came to the steps, and Carrie stood up on the first 
one, her head now coming even with his own. He took 
her hand and held it genially. He looked steadily at her 
as she glanced about, warmly musing. 

At about that hour, Minnie was soundly sleeping, after 
a long evening of troubled thought. She had her elbow 
in an awkward position under her side. The muscles so 
held irritated a few nerves, and now a vague scene floated 
in on the drowsy mind. She fancied she and Carrie were 
somewhere beside an old coal-mine. She could see the 
tall runway and the heap of earth and coal cast out. 
There was a deep pit, into which they were looking; they 



9 o SISTER CARRIE 

could see the curious wet stones far down where the wall 
disappeared in vague shadows. An old basket, used for 
descending, was hanging there, fastened by a worn rope. 

" Let's get in," said Carrie. 

" Oh, no," said Minnie. 

" Yes, come on," said Carrie. 

She began to pull the basket over, and now, in spite of 
all protest, she had swung over and was going down. 

" Carrie," she called, " Carrie, come back ; " but Carrie 
was far down now and the shadow had swallowed her 
completely. 

She moved her arm. 

Now the mystic scenery merged queerly and the place 
was by waters she had never seen. They were upon some 
board or ground or something that reached far out, and 
at the end of this was Carrie. They looked about, and 
now the thing was sinking, and Minnie heard the low sip 
of the encroaching water. 

" Come on, Carrie," she called, but Carrie was reaching 
farther out. She seemed to recede, and now it was diffi- 
cult to call to her. 

" Carrie," she called, " Carrie," but her own voice 
sounded far away, and the strange waters were blurring 
everything. She came away suffering as though she had 
lost something. She was more inexpressibly sad than 
she had ever been in life. 

It was this way through many shifts of the tired brain, 
those curious phantoms of the spirit slipping in, blurring 
strange scenes, one with the other. The last one made 
her cry out, for Carrie was slipping away somewhere over 
a rock, and her fingers had let loose and she had seen her 
falling. 

" Minnie! What's the matter? Here, wake up," said 
Hanson, disturbed, and shaking her by the shoulder. 

" Wha — what's the matter? " said Minnie, drowsily. 



SISTER CARRIE 91 

" Wake up," he said, " and turn over. You're talking 
in your sleep." 

A week or so later Drouet strolled into Fitzgerald and 
Moy's, spruce in dress and manner. 

" Hello, Charley," said Hurstwood, looking out from 
his office door. 

Drouet strolled over and looked in upon the manager 
at his desk. 

" When do you go out on the road again? " he inquired. 

" Pretty soon," said Drouet. 

" Haven't seen much of you this trip," said Hurstwood. 

" Well, I've been busy," said Drouet. 

They talked some few minutes on general topics. 

" Say," said Drouet, as if struck by a sudden idea, " I 
want you to come out some evening." 

" Out where? " inquired Hurstwood. 

" Out to my house, of course," said Drouet, smiling. 

Hurstwood looked up quizzically, the least suggestion 
of a smile hovering about his lips. He studied the face 
of Drouet in his wise way, and then with the demeanour 
of a gentleman, said: " Certainly; glad to." 

" We'll have a nice game of euchre." 

" May I bring a nice little bottle of Sec? " asked Hurst- 
wood. 

" Certainly," said Drouet. " I'll introduce you." 



CHAPTER IX 
convention's own tinder-box: the eye that is 

GREEN 

Hurstwood's residence on the North Side, near Lin- 
coln Park, was a brick building of a very popular type 
then, a three-story affair with the first floor sunk a very 
little below the level of the street. It had a large bay 
window bulging out from the second floor, and was 
graced in front by a small grassy plot, twenty-five feet 
wide and ten feet deep. There was also a small rear yard, 
walled in by the fences of the neighbours and holding a 
stable where he kept his horse and trap. 

The ten rooms of the house were occupied by himself, 
his wife Julia, and his son and daughter, George, Jr., and 
Jessica. There were besides these a maid-servant, repre- 
sented from time to time by girls of various extraction, 
for Mrs. Hurstwood was not always easy to please. 

" George, I let Mary go yesterday," was not an un- 
frequent salutation at the dinner table. 

" All right," was his only reply. He had long since 
wearied of discussing the rancorous subject. 

A lovely home atmosphere is one of the flowers of the 
world, than which there is nothing more tender, nothing 
more delicate, nothing more calculated to make strong 
and just the natures cradled and nourished within it. 
Those who have never experienced such a beneficent in- 
fluence will not understand wherefore the tear springs 
glistening to the eyelids at some strange breath in lovely 



SISTER CARRIE 93 

music. The mystic chords which bind and thrill the 
heart of the nation, they will never know. 

Hurstwood's residence could scarcely be said to be in- 
fused with this home spirit. It lacked that toleration and 
regard without which the home is nothing. There was 
fine furniture, arranged as soothingly as the artistic per- 
ception of the occupants warranted. There were soft 
rugs, rich, upholstered chairs and divans, a grand piano, 
a marble carving of some unknown Venus by some un- 
known artist, and a number of small bronzes gathered 
from heaven knows where, but generally sold by the large 
furniture houses along with everything else which goes 
to make the " perfectly appointed house." 

In the dining-room stood a sideboard laden with glis- 
tening decanters and other utilities and ornaments in 
glass, the arrangement of which could not be questioned. 
Here was something Hurstwood knew about. He had 
studied the subject for years in his business. He took 
no little satisfaction in telling each Mary, shortly after she 
arrived, something of what the art of the thing required. 
He was not garrulous by any means. On the contrary, 
there was a fine reserve in his manner toward the entire 
domestic economy of his life which was all that is compre- 
hended by the popular term, gentlemanly. He would not 
argue, he would not talk freely. In his manner was 
something of the dogmatist. What he could not correct, 
he would ignore. There was a tendency in him to walk 
away from the impossible thing. 

There was a time when he had been considerably 
enamoured of his Jessica, especially when he was younger 
and more confined in his success. Now, however, in her 
seventeenth year, Jessica had developed a certain amount 
of reserve and independence which was not inviting to 
the richest form of parental devotion. She was in the 
high school, and had notions of life which were decidedly 



94 SISTER CARRIE 

those of a patrician. She liked nice clothes and urged for 
them constantly. Thoughts of love and elegant indi- 
vidual establishments were running in her head. She 
met girls at the high school whose parents were truly rich 
and whose fathers had standing locally as partners or 
owners of solid businesses. These girls gave themselves 
the airs befitting the thriving domestic establishments 
from whence they issued. They were the only ones of the 
school about whom Jessica concerned herself. 

Young Hurstwood, Jr., was in his twentieth year, and 
was already connected in a promising capacity with a 
large real estate firm. He contributed nothing for the 
domestic expenses of the family, but was thought to be 
saving his money to invest in real estate. He had some 
ability, considerable vanity, and a love of pleasure that 
had not, as yet, infringed upon his duties, whatever they 
were. He came in and went out, pursuing his own plans 
and fancies, addressing a few words to his mother occa- 
sionally, relating some little incident to his father, but for 
the most part confining himself to those generalities with 
which most conversation concerns itself. He was not lay- 
ing bare his desires for any one to see. He did not find 
any one in the house who particularly cared to see. 

Mrs. Hurstwood was the type of the woman who has 
ever endeavoured to shine and has been more or less 
chagrined at the evidences of superior capability in this 
direction elsewhere. Her knowledge of life extended to 
that little conventional round of society of which she was 
not — but longed to be — a member. She was not without 
realisation already that this thing was impossible, so far 
as she was concerned. For her daughter, she hoped bet- 
ter things. Through Jessica she might rise a little. 
Through George, Jr.'s, possible success she might draw to 
herself the privilege of pointing proudly. Even Hurst- 
wood was doing well enough, and she was anxious that 



SISTER CARRIE 95 

his small real estate adventures should prosper. His 
property holdings, as yet, were rather small, but his in- 
come was pleasing and his position with Fitzgerald and 
Moy was fixed. Both those gentlemen were on pleasant 
and rather informal terms with him. 

The atmosphere which such personalities would create 
must be apparent to all. It worked out in a thousand 
little conversations, all of which were of the same calibre. 

" I'm going up to Fox Lake to-morrow," announced 
George, Jr., at the dinner table one Friday evening. 

"What's going on up there?" queried Mrs. Hurst- 
wood. 

" Eddie Fahrway's got a new steam launch, and he 
wants me to come up and see how it works." 

" How much did it cost him? " asked his mother. 

" Oh, over two thousand dollars. Fie says it's a 
dandy." 

" Old Fahrway must be making money," put in Hurst- 
wood. 

" He is, I guess. Jack told me they were shipping 
Vega-cura to Australia now — said they sent a whole box 
to Cape Town last week." 

" Just think of that! " said Mrs. Hurstwood, " and only 
four years ago they had that basement in Madison Street." 

" Jack told me they were going to put up a six-story 
building next spring in Robey Street." 

" Just think of that! " said Jessica. 

Onthis particular occasion Hurstwood wished to leave 
early. 

" I guess I'll be going down town," he remarked, rising. 

" Are we going to McVicker's Monday? " questioned 
Mrs. Hurstwood, without rising. 

" Yes," he said indifferently. 

They went on dining, while he went upstairs for his hat 
and coat. Presently the door clicked. 



96 SISTER CARRIE 

" I guess papa's gone," said Jessica. 

The latter's school news was of a particular stripe. 

" They're going to give a performance in the Lyceum, 
upstairs," she reported one day, " and I'm going to be in 
it." 

" Are you? " said her mother. 

" Yes, and I'll have to have a new dress. Some of the 
nicest girls in the school are going to be in it. Miss 
Palmer is going to take the part of Portia." 

" Is she? " said Mrs. Hurstwood. 

" They've got that Martha Griswold in it again. She 
thinks she can act." 

" Her family doesn't amount to anything, does it? " 
said Mrs. Hurstwood sympathetically. " They haven't 
anything, have they? " 

" No," returned Jessica, " they're poor as church mice." 

She distinguished very carefully between the young 
boys of the school, many of whom were attracted by her 
beauty. 

" What do you think? " she remarked to her mother 
one evening ; " that Herbert Crane tried to make friends 
with me." 

'* Who is he, my dear? " inquired Mrs. Hurstwood. 

" Oh, no one," said Jessica, pursing her pretty lips. 
" He's just a student there. He hasn't anything." 

The other half of this picture came when young Bly- 
ford, son of Blyford, the soap manufacturer, walked home 
with her. Mrs. Hurstwood was on the third floor, sitting 
in a rocking-chair reading, and happened to look out at 
the time. 

" Who was that with you, Jessica? " she inquired, as 
Jessica came upstairs. 

" It's Mr. Blyford, mamma," she replied. 

" Is it? " said Mrs. Hurstwood. 

" Yes, and he wants me to stroll over into the park 



SISTER CARRIE 97 

with him," explained Jessica, a little flushed with running 
up the stairs. 

" All right, my dear," said Mrs. Hurstwood. " Don't 
be gone long." 

As the two went down the street, she glanced interest- 
edly out of the window. It was a most satisfactory spec- 
tacle indeed, most satisfactory. 

In this atmosphere Hurstwood had moved for a num- 
ber of years, not thinking deeply concerning it. His was 
not the order of nature to trouble for something better, 
unless the better was immediately and sharply contrasted. 
As it was, he received and gave, irritated sometimes by 
the little displays of selfish indifference, pleased at times 
by some show of finery which supposedly made for 
dignity and social distinction. The life of the resort 
which he managed was his life. There he spent most of 
his time. When he went home evenings the house looked 
nice. With rare exceptions the meals were acceptable, 
being the kind that an ordinary servant can arrange. In 
part, he was interested in the talk of his son and daughter, 
who always looked well. The vanity of Mrs. Hurstwood 
caused her to keep her person rather showily arrayed, but 
to Hurstwood this was much better than plainness. 
There was no love lost between them. There was no 
great feeling of dissatisfaction. Her opinion on any sub- 
ject was not startling. They did not talk enough together 
to come to the argument of any one point. In the ac- 
cepted and popular phrase, she had her ideas and he had 
his. Once in a while he would meet a woman whose 
youth, ^sprightliness, and humour would make his wife 
seem rather deficient by contrast, but the temporary dis- 
satisfaction which such an encounter might arouse would 
be counterbalanced by his social position and a certain 
matter of policy. He could not complicate his home life, 
because it might affect his relations with his employers. 
7 



98 SISTER CARRIE 

They wanted no scandals. A man, to hold his position, 
must have a dignified manner, a clean record, a respect- 
able home anchorage. Therefore he was circumspect in 
all he did, and whenever he appeared in the public ways 
in the afternoon, or on Sunday, it was with his wife, and 
sometimes his children. He would visit the local resorts, 
or those near by in Wisconsin, and spend a few stiff, pol- 
ished days strolling about conventional places doing con- 
ventional things. He knew the need of it. 

When some one of the many middle-class individuals 
whom he knew, who had money, would get into trouble, 
he would shake his head. It didn't do to talk about those 
things. If it came up for discussion among such friends 
as with him passed for close, he would deprecate the folly 
of the thing. " It was all right to do it — all men do those 
things — but why wasn't he careful? A man can't be too 
careful." He lost sympathy for the man that made a 
mistake and was found out. 

On this account he still devoted some time to showing 
his wife about — time which would have been wearisome 
indeed if it had not been for the people he would meet and 
the little enjoyments which did not depend upon her 
presence or absence. He watched her with considerable 
curiosity at times, for she was still attractive in a way and 
men looked at her. She was affable, vain, subject to flat- 
tery, and this combination, he knew quite well, might pro- 
duce a tragedy in a woman of her home position. Owing 
to his order of mind, his confidence in the sex was not 
great. His wife never possessed the virtues which would 
win the confidence and admiration of a man of his nature. 
As long as she loved him vigorously he could see how 
confidence could be, but when that was no longer the 
binding chain — well, something might happen. 

During the last year or two the expenses of the family 
seemed a large thing. Jessica wanted fine clothes, and 



SISTER CARRIE 99 

Mrs. Hurstwood, not to be outshone by her daughter, also 
frequently enlivened her apparel. Hurstwood had said 
nothing in the past, but one day he murmured. 

" Jessica must have a new dress this month," said Mrs. 
Hurstwood one morning. 

Hurstwood was arraying himself in one of his perfec- 
tion vests before the glass at the time. 

" I thought she just bought one," he said. 

" That was just something for evening wear," returned 
his wife complacently. 

" It seems to me," returned Hurstwood, " that she's 
spending a good deal for dresses of late." 

" Well, she's going out more," concluded his wife, but 
the tone of his voice impressed her as containing some- 
thing she had not heard there before. 

He was not a man who travelled much, but when he 
did, he had been accustomed to take her along. On one 
occasion recently a local aldermanic junket had been ar- 
ranged to visit Philadelphia — a junket that was to last 
ten days. Hurstwood had been invited. 

" Nobody knows us down there," said one, a gentleman 
whose face was a slight improvement over gross igno- 
rance and sensuality. He always wore a silk hat of most 
imposing proportions. " We can have a good time." His 
left eye moved with just the semblance of a wink. " You 
want to come along, George." 

The next day Hurstwood announced his intention to 
his wife. 

" I'm going away, Julia," he said, " for a few days." 

" Where? " she asked, looking up. 

" To Philadelphia, on business." 

She looked at him consciously, expecting something 
else. 

" I'll have to leave you behind this time." 

" All right," she replied, but he could see that she was 



IOO SISTER CARRIE 

thinking that it was a curious thing. Before he went she 
asked him a few more questions, and that irritated him. 
He began to feel that she was a disagreeable attachment. 

On this trip he enjoyed himself thoroughly, and when 
it was over he was sorry to get back. He was not will- 
ingly a prevaricator, and hated thoroughly to make ex- 
planations concerning it. The whole incident was glossed 
over with general remarks, but Mrs. Hurstwood gave the 
subject considerable thought. She drove out more, 
dressed better, and attended theatres freely to make up 
for it. 

Such an atmosphere could hardly come under the cate- 
gory of home life. It ran along by force of habit, by force 
of conventional opinion. With the lapse of time it must 
necessarily become dryer and dryer — must eventually be 
tinder, easily lighted and destroyed. 



CHAPTER X 

THE COUNSEL OF WINTER ; FORTUNE'S AMBASSADOR • 
CALLS 

In the light of the world's attitude toward woman and 
her duties, the nature of Carrie's mental state deserves 
consideration. Actions such as hers are measured by an 
arbitrary scale. Society possesses a conventional stand- 
ard whereby it judges all things. All men should be 
good, all women virtuous. Wherefore, villain, hast thou 
failed? 

For all the liberal analysis of Spencer and our modern 
naturalistic philosophers, we have but an infantile percep- 
tion of morals. There is more in the subject than mere 
conformity to a law of evolution. It is yet deeper than 
conformity to things of earth alone. It is more involved 
than we, as yet, perceive. Answer, first, why the heart 
thrills ; explain wherefore some plaintive note goes wan- 
dering about the world, undying; make clear the rose's 
subtle alchemy evolving its ruddy lamp in light and rain. 
In the essence of these facts lie the first principles of 
morals. 

" Oh," thought Drouet, " how delicious is my con- 
quest." 

" Ah," thought Carrie, with mournful misgivings, 
" what is it I have lost? " 

Before this world-old proposition we stand, serious, in- 
terested, confused ; endeavouring to evolve the true theory 
of morals — the true answer to what is right. 

In the view of a certain stratum of society, Carrie was 



102 SISTER CARRIE 

comfortably established — in the eyes of the starveling, 
beaten by every wind and gusty sheet of rain, she was safe 
in a halcyon harbour. Drouet had taken three rooms, fur- 
nished, in Ogden Place, facing Union Park, on the West 
Side. That was a little, green-carpeted breathing spot, 
than which, to-day, there is nothing more beautiful in 
Chicago. It afforded a vista pleasant to contemplate. The 
best room looked out upon the lawn of the park, now sear 
and brown, where a little lake lay sheltered. Over the 
bare limbs of the trees, which now swayed in the wintry 
wind, rose the steeple of the Union Park Congregational 
Church, and far off the towers of several others. 

The rooms were comfortably enough furnished. There 
was a good Brussels carpet on the floor, rich in dull red 
and lemon shades, and representing large jardinieres filled 
with gorgeous, impossible flowers. There was a large 
pier-glass mirror between the two windows. A large, 
soft, green, plush-covered couch occupied one corner, 
and several rocking-chairs were set about. Some pic- 
tures, several rugs, a few small pieces of bric-a-brac, and 
the tale of contents is told. 

In the bedroom, off the front room, was Carrie's trunk, 
bought by Drouet, and in the wardrobe built into the wall 
quite an array of clothing — more than she had ever pos- 
sessed before, and of very becoming designs. There was 
a third room for possible use as a kitchen, where Drouet 
had Carrie establish a little portable gas stove for the 
preparation of small lunches, oysters, Welsh rarebits, and 
the like, of which he was exceedingly fond ; and, lastly, a 
bath. The whole place was cosey, in that it was lighted 
by gas and heated by furnace registers, possessing also a 
small grate, set with an asbestos back, a method of cheer- 
ful warming which was then first coming into use. By 
her industry and natural love of order, which now devel- 
oped, the place maintained an air pleasing in the extreme. 



SISTER CARRIE 103 

Here, then, was Carrie, established in a pleasant fash- 
ion, free of certain difficulties which most ominously 
confronted her, laden with many new ones which were 
of a mental order, and altogether so turned about in all 
of her earthly relationships that she might well have been 
a new and different individual. She looked into her 
glass and saw a prettier Carrie than she had seen before ; 
she looked into her mind, a mirror prepared of her own 
and the world's opinions, and saw a worse. Between 
these two images she wavered, hesitating which to 
believe. 

" My, but you're a little beauty," Drouet was wont to 
exclaim to her. 

She would look at him with large, pleased eyes. 

" You know it, don't you? " he would continue. 

" Oh, I don't know," she would reply, feeling delight 
in the fact that one should think so, hesitating to believe", 
though she really did, that she was vain enough to think 
so much of herself. 

Her conscience, however, was not a Drouet, interested 
to praise. There she heard a different voice, with which 
she argued, pleaded, excused. It was no just and sapient 
counsellor, in its last analysis. It was only an average 
little conscience, a thing which represented the world, her 
past environment, habit, convention, in a confused way. 
With it, the voice of the people was truly the voice of God. 

" Oh, thou failure ! " said the voice. 

" Why? " she questioned. 

" Look at those about," came the whispered answer. 
" Look at those who are good. How would they scorn to 
do what you have done. Look at the good girls ; how will 
they draw away from such as you when they know you 
have been weak. You had not tried before you failed." 

It was when Carrie was alone, looking out across the 
park, that she would be listening to this. It would come 



104 SISTER CARRIE 

infrequently — when something else did not interfere, 
when the pleasant side was not too apparent, when Drouet 
was not there. It was somewhat clear in utterance at 
first, but never wholly convincing. There was always an 
answer, always the December days threatened. She 
was alone ; she was desireful ; she was fearful of the 
whistling wind. The voice of want made answer for 
her. 

Once the bright days of summer pass by, a city takes 
on that sombre garb of grey, wrapt in which it goes about 
its labours during the long winter. Its endless buildings 
look grey, its sky and its streets assume a sombre hue; 
the scattered, leafless trees and wind-blown dust and 
paper but add to the general solemnity of colour. There 
seems to be something in the chill breezes which scurry 
through the long, narrow thoroughfares productive of 
rueful thoughts. Not poets alone, nor artists, nor that 
superior order of mind which arrogates to itself all refine- 
ment, feel this, but dogs and all men. These feel as much 
as the poet, though they have not the same power of ex- 
pression. The sparrow upon the wire, the cat in the door- 
way, the dray horse tugging his weary load, feel the long, 
keen breaths of winter. It strikes to the heart of all life, 
animate and inanimate. If it were not for the artificial 
fires of merriment, the rush of profit-seeking trade, and 
pleasure-selling amusements; if the various merchants 
failed to make the customary display within and without 
their establishments; if our streets were not strung with 
signs of gorgeous hues and thronged with hurrying pur- 
chasers, we would quickly discover how firmly the chill 
hand of winter lays upon the heart; how dispiriting are 
the days during which the sun withholds a portion of our 
allowance of light and warmth. We are more dependent 
upon these things than is often thought. We are insects 
produced by heat, and pass without it. 



SISTER CARRIE 1 05 

In the drag of such a grey day the secret voice would 
reassert itself, feebly and more feebly. 

Such mental conflict was not always uppermost. Car- 
rie was not by any means a gloomy soul. More, she had 
not the mind to get firm hold upon a definite truth. When 
she could not find her way out of the labyrinth of ill-logic 
which thought upon the subject created, she would turn 
away entirely. 

Drouet, all the time, was conducting himself in a model 
way for one of his sort. He took her about a great deal, 
spent money upon her, and when he travelled took her 
with him. There were times when she would be alone 
for two or three days, while he made the shorter circuits 
of his business, but, as a rule, she saw a great deal of him. 

" Say, Carrie," he said one morning, shortly after they 
had so established themselves, " I've invited my friend 
Hurstwood to come out some day and spend the evening 
with us." 

" Who is he? " asked Carrie, doubtfully. 

" Oh, he's a nice man. He's manager of Fitzgerald 
and Moy's." 

" What's that? " said Carrie. 

" The finest resort in town. It's a way-up, swell place." 

Carrie puzzled a moment. She was wondering what 
Drouet had told him, what her attitude would be. 

" That's all right," said Drouet, feeling her thought. 
" He doesn't know anything. You're Mrs. Drouet now." 

There was something about this which struck Carrie as 
slightly inconsiderate. She could see that Drouet did 
not have the keenest sensibilities. 

"Why don't we get married?" she inquired, thinking 
of the voluble promises he had made. 

" Well, we will," he said, " just as soon as I get this 
little deal of mine closed up." 

He was referring to some property which he said he 



io6 SISTER CARRIE 

had, and which required so much attention, adjustment, 
and what not, that somehow or other it interfered with his 
free moral, personal actions. 

" Just as soon as I get back from my Denver trip in 
January we'll do it." 

Carrie accepted this as basis for hope — it was a sort of 
salve to her conscience, a pleasant way out. Under the 
circumstances, things would be righted. Her actions 
would be justified. 

She really was riot enamoured of Drouet. She was 
more clever than he. In a dim way, she was beginning 
to see where he lacked. If it had not been for this, if she 
had not been able to measure and judge him in a way, she 
would have been worse off than she was. She would have 
adored him. She would have been utterly wretched in 
her fear of not gaining his affection, of losing his interest, 
of being swept away and left without an anchorage. As 
it was, she wavered a little, slightly anxious, at first, to 
gain him completely, but later feeling at ease in waiting. 
She was not exactly sure what she thought of him — what 
she wanted to do. 

When Hurstwood called, she met a man who was more 
clever than Drouet in a hundred ways. He paid that 
peculiar deference to women which every member of the 
sex appreciates. He was not overawed, he was not over- 
bold. His great charm was attentiveness. Schooled in 
winning those birds of fine feather among his own sex, 
the merchants and professionals who visited his resort, 
he could use even greater tact when endeavouring to 
prove agreeable to some one who charmed him. In a 
pretty woman of any refinement of feeling whatsoever he 
found his greatest incentive. He was mild, placid, 
assured, giving the impression that he wished to be of 
service only — to do something which would make the 
lady more pleased. 



SISTER CARRIE 107 

Drouet had ability in this line himself when the game 
was worth the candle, but he was too much the egotist 
to reach the polish which Hurstwood possessed. He was 
too buoyant, too full of ruddy life, too assured. He suc- 
ceeded with many who were not quite schooled in the art 
of love. He failed dismally where the woman was slightly 
experienced and possessed innate refinement. In the case 
of Carrie he found a woman who was all of the latter, but 
none of the former. He was lucky in the fact that oppor- 
tunity tumbled into his lap, as it were. A few years 
later, with a little more experience, the slightest tide of 
success, and he had not been able to approach Carrie 
at all. 

" You ought to have a piano here, Drouet," said Hurst- 
wood, smiling at Carrie, on the evening in question, " so 
that your wife could play." 

Drouet had not thought of that. 

" So we ought," he observed readily. 

" Oh, I don't play," ventured Carrie. 

" It isn't very difficult," returned Hurstwood. " You 
could do very well in a few weeks." 

He was in the best form for entertaining this evening. 
His clothes were particularly new and rich in appearance. 
The coat lapels stood out with that medium stiffness 
which excellent cloth possesses. The vest was of a rich 
Scotch plaid, set with a double row of round mother-of- 
pearl buttons. His cravat was a shiny combination of 
silken threads, not loud, not inconspicuous. What he 
wore did not strike the eye so forcibly as that which 
Drouet had on, but Carrie could see the elegance of the 
material. Hurstwood's shoes were of soft, black calf, 
polished only to a dull shine. Drouet wore patent leather, 
but Carrie could not help feeling that there was a distinc- 
tion in favour of the soft leather, where all else was so 
rich. She noticed these things almost unconsciously. 



108 SISTER CARRIE 

They were things which would naturally flow from the 
situation. She was used to Drouet's appearance. 

" Suppose we have a little game of euchre? " suggested 
Hurstwood, after a light round of conversation. He was 
rather dexterous in avoiding everything that would sug- 
gest that he knew anything of Carrie's past. He kept away 
from personalities altogether, and confined himself to 
those things which did not concern individuals at all. By 
his manner, he put Carrie at her ease, and by his deference 
and pleasantries he amused her. He pretended to be 
seriously interested in all she said. 

" I don't know how to play," said Carrie. 

" Charlie, you are neglecting a part of your duty," he 
observed to Drouet most affably. " Between us, though," 
he went on, " we can show you." 

By his tact he made Drouet feel that he admired his 
choice. There was something in his manner that showed 
that he was pleased to be there. Drouet felt really closer 
to him than ever before. It gave him more respect for 
Carrie. Her appearance came into a new light, under 
Hurstwood's appreciation. The situation livened con- 
siderably. 

" Now, let me see," said Hurstwood, looking over Car- 
rie's shoulder very deferentially. "What have you?" 
He studied for a moment. " That's rather good," he 
said. 

" You're lucky. Now, I'll show you how to trounce 
your husband. You take my advice." 

" Here," said Drouet, " if you two are going to scheme 
together, I won't stand a ghost of a show. Hurstwood's 
a regular sharp." 

" No, it's your wife. She brings me luck. Why 
shouldn't she win? " 

Carrie looked gratefully at Hurstwood, and smiled at 
Drouet. The former took the air of a mere friend. He 



SISTER CARRIE 1 09 

was simply there to enjoy himself. Anything that Carrie 
did was pleasing to him, nothing more. 

" There," he said, holding back one of his own good 
cards, and giving Carrie a chance to take a trick. " I 
count that clever playing for a beginner." 

The latter laughed gleefully as she saw the hand coming 
her way. It was as if she were invincible when Hurst- 
wood helped her. 

He did not look at her often. When he did, it was 
with a mild light in his eye. Not a shade was there of 
anything save geniality and kindness. He took back the 
shifty, clever gleam, and replaced it with one of innocence. 
Carrie could not guess but that it was pleasure with him 
in the immediate thing. She felt that he considered she 
was doing a great deal. 

" It's unfair to let such playing go without earning 
something," he said after a time, slipping his finger into 
the little coin pocket of his coat. " Let's play for dimes." 

" All right," said Drouet, fishing for bills. 

Hurstwood was quicker. His fingers were full of new 
ten-cent pieces. " Here we are," he said, supplying each 
one with a little stack. 

" Oh, this is gambling," smiled Carrie. " It's bad." 

" No," said Drouet, " only fun. If you never play for 
more than that, you will go to Heaven." 

" Don't you moralise," said Hurstwood to Carrie 
gently, " until you see what becomes of the money." 

Drouet smiled. 

" If your husband gets them, he'll tell you how bad 
it is." 

Drouet laughed loud. 

There was such an ingratiating tone about Hurstwood's 
voice, the insinuation was so perceptible that even Carrie 
got the humour of it. 

" When do you leave? " said Hurstwood to Drouet. 



HO SISTER CARRIE 

" On Wednesday," he replied. 

" It's rather hard to have your husband running about 
like that, isn't it? " said Hurstwood, addressing Carrie. 
" She's going along with me this time," said Drouet. 
" You must both go with me to the theatre before you 

go" 

" Certainly," said Drouet. " Eh, Carrie? " 

" I'd like it ever so much," she replied. 

Hurstwood did his best to see that Carrie won the 
money. He rejoiced in her success, kept counting her 
winnings, and finally gathered and put them in her ex- 
tended hand. They spread a little lunch, at which he 
served the wine, and afterwards he used fine tact in going. 

" Now," he said, addressing first Carrie and then 
Drouet with his eyes, " you must be ready at 7.30. I'll 
come and get you." 

They went with him to the door and there was his cab 
waiting, its red lamps gleaming cheerfully in the shadow. 

" Now," he observed to Drouet, with a tone of good- 
fellowship, " when you leave your wife alone, you must 
let me show her around a little. It will break up her 
loneliness." 

" Sure," said Drouet, quite pleased at the attention 
shown. 

" You're so kind," observed Carrie. 

" Not at all," said Hurstwood, " I would want your 
husband to do as much for me." 

He smiled and went lightly away. Carrie was thor- 
oughly impressed. She had never come in contact with 
such grace. As for Drouet, he was equally pleased. 

" There's a nice man," he remarked to Carrie, as they 
returned to their cosey chamber. " A good friend of 
mine, too." 

" He seems to be," said Carrie. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE PERSUASION OF FASHION : FEELING GUARDS O'ER 
ITS OWN 

Carrie was an apt student of fortune's ways — of for- 
tune's superficialities. Seeing a thing, she would immedi- 
ately set to inquiring how she would look, properly re- 
lated to it. Be it known that this is not fine feeling, it is 
not wisdom. The greatest minds are not so afflicted ; and, 
on the contrary, the lowest order of mind is not so dis- 
turbed. Fine clothes to her were a vast persuasion ; they 
spoke tenderly and Jesuitically for themselves. When 
she came within earshot of their pleading, desire in her 
bent a willing ear. The voice of the so-called inanimate ! 
Who shall translate for us the language of the stones? 

" My dear," said the lace collar she secured frorri Par- 
tridge's, " I fit you beautifully ; don't give me up." 

" Ah, such little feet," said the leather of the soft new 
shoes ; " how effectively I cover them. What a pity they 
should ever want my aid." 

Once these things were in her hand, on her person, 
she might dream of giving them up ; the method by which 
they came might intrude itself so forcibly that she would 
ache to be rid of the thought of it, but she would not give 
them up. " Put on the old clothes — that torn pair of 
shoes," was called to her by her conscience in vain. She 
could possibly have conquered the fear of hunger and 
gone back ; the thought of hard work and a narrow round 
of suffering would, under the last pressure of conscience, 



112 SISTER CARRIE 

have yielded, but spoil her appearance? — be old-clothed 
and poor-appearing ? — never ! 

Drouet heightened her opinion on this and allied sub- 
jects in such a manner as to weaken her power of resist- 
ing their influence. It is so easy to do this when the 
thing opined is in the line of what we desire. In his 
hearty way, he insisted upon her good looks. He looked 
at her admiringly, and she took it at its full value. Under 
the circumstances, she did not need to carry herself as 
pretty women do. She picked that knowledge up fast 
enough for herself. Drouet had a habit, characteristic 
of his kind, of looking after stylishly dressed or pretty 
women on the street and remarking upon them. He had 
just enough of the feminine love of dress to be a good 
judge — not of intellect, but of clothes. He saw how they 
set their little feet, how they carried their chins, with what 
grace and sinuosity they swung their bodies. A dainty, 
self-conscious swaying of the hips by a woman was to 
him as alluring as the glint of rare wine to a toper. He 
would turn and follow the disappearing vision with his 
eyes. He would thrill as a child with the unhindered 
passion that was in him. He loved the thing that women 
love in themselves, grace. At this, their own shrine, he 
knelt with them, an ardent devotee. 

" Did you see that woman who went by just now ? " he 
said to Carrie on the first day they took a walk together. 
" Fine stepper, wasn't she ? " 

Carrie looked, and observed the grace commended. 

" Yes, she is," she returned, cheerfully, a little sugges- 
tion of possible defect in herself awakening in her mind. 
If that was so fine, she must look at it more closely. In- 
stinctively, she felt a desire to imitate it. Surely she could 
do that too. 

When one of her mind sees many things emphasized 
and reemphasized and admired, she gathers the logic 



SISTER CARRIE lf 3 

of it and applies accordingly. Drouet was not shrewd 
enough to see that this was not tactful. He could not see 
that it would be better to make her feel that she was com- 
peting with herself, not others better than herself. He 
would not have done it with an older, wiser woman, but 
in Carrie he saw only the novice. Less clever than she, 
he was naturally unable to comprehend her sensibility. 
He went on educating and wounding her, a thing rather 
foolish in one whose admiration for his pupil and victim 
was apt to grow. 

Carrie took the instructions affably. She saw what 
Drouet liked ; in a vague way she saw where he was weak. 
It lessens a woman's opinion of a man when she learns that 
his admiration is so pointedly and generously distributed. 
She sees but one object of supreme compliment in this 
world, and that is herself. If a man is to succeed with 
many women, he must be all in all to each. 

In her own apartments Carrie saw things which were 
lessons in the same school. 

In the same house with her lived an official of one of the 
theatres, Mr. Frank A. Hale, manager of the Standard, 
and his wife, a pleasing-looking brunette of thirty-five. 
They were people of a sort very common in America to- 
day, who live respectably from hand to mouth. Hale re- 
ceived a salary of forty-five dollars a week. His wife, 
quite attractive, affected the feeling of youth, and objected 
to that sort of home life which means the care of a house 
and the raising of a family. Like Drouet and Carrie, they 
also occupied three rooms on the floor above. 

Not long after she arrived Mrs. Hale established social 
relations with her, and together they went about. For a 
long time this was her only companionship, and the gossip 
of the manager's wife formed the medium through which 
she saw the world. Such trivialities, such praises of 
wealth, such conventional expression of morals as sifted 



114 SISTER CARRIE 

through this passive creature's mind, fell upon Carrie and 
for the while confused her. 

On the other hand, her own feelings were a corrective 
influence. The constant drag to something better was 
not to be denied. By those things which address the 
heart was she steadily recalled. In the apartments 
across the hall were a young girl and her mother. They 
were from Evansville, Indiana, the wife and daughter 
of a railroad treasurer. The daughter was here to study 
music, the mother to keep her company. 

Carrie did not make their acquaintance, but she saw 
the daughter coming in and going out. A few times she 
had seen her at the piano in the parlour, and not infre- 
quently had heard her play. This young woman was par- 
ticularly dressy for her station, and wore a jewelled ring 
or two which flashed upon her white fingers as she played. 

Now Carrie was affected by music. Her nervous com- 
position responded to certain strains, much as certain 
strings of a harp vibrate when a corresponding key of a 
piano is struck. She was delicately moulded in sentiment, 
and answered with vague ruminations to certain wistful 
chords. They awoke longings for those things which 
she did not have. They caused her to cling closer to 
things she possessed. One short song the young 
lady played in a most soulful and tender mood. Carrie 
heard it through the open door from the parlour below. It 
was at that hour between afternoon and night when, for 
the idle, the wanderer, things are apt to take on a wistful 
aspect. The mind wanders forth on far journeys and re- 
turns with sheaves of withered and departed joys. Carrie 
sat at her window looking out. Drouet had been away 
since ten in the morning. She had amused herself with a 
walk, a b6ok by Bertha M. Clay which Drouet had left 
there, though she did not wholly enjoy the latter, and by 
changing her dress for the evening. Now she sat looking 



SISTER CARRIE 



115 



out across the park as wistful and depressed as the nature 
which craves variety and life can be under such circum- 
stances. As she contemplated her new state, the strain 
from the parlour below stole upward. With it her 
thoughts became coloured and enmeshed. She reverted 
to the things which were best and saddest within the 
small limit of her experience. She became for the moment 
a repentant. 

While she was in this mood Drouet came in, bringing 
with him an entirely different atmosphere. It was dusk 
and Carrie had neglected to light the lamp. The fire in 
the grate, too, had burned low. 

" Where are you, Cad ? " he said, using a pet name he 
had given her. 

" Here," she answered. 

There was something delicate and lonely in her voice, 
but he could not hear it. He had not the poetry in him 
that would seek a woman out under such circumstances 
and console her for the tragedy of life. Instead, he struck 
a match and lighted the gas. 

" Hello," he exclaimed, " you've been crying." 

Her eyes were still wet with a few vague tears. 

" Pshaw," he said, " you don't want to do that." 

He took her hand, feeling in his good-natured egotism 
that it was probably lack of his presence which had made 
her lonely. 

" Come on, now," he went on ; " it's all right. Let's 
waltz a little to that music." 

He could not have introduced a more incongruous 
proposition. It made clear to Carrie that he could not 
sympathise with her. She could not have framed 
thoughts which would have expressed his defect or made 
clear the difference between them, but she felt it. It was 
his first great mistake. 

What Drouet said about the girl's grace, as she tripped 



Il6 SISTER CARRIE 

out evenings accompanied by her mother, caused Carrie 
to perceive the nature and value of those little modish 
ways which women adopt when they would presume to be 
something. She looked in the mirror and pursed up her 
lips, accompanying it with a little toss of the head, as she 
had seen the railroad treasurer's daughter do. She caught 
up her skirts with an easy swing, for had not Drouet re- 
marked that in her and several others, and Carrie was 
naturally imitative. She began to get the hang of those 
little things which the pretty woman who has vanity in- 
variably adopts. In short, her knowledge of grace 
doubled, and with it her appearance changed. She became 
a girl of considerable taste. 

Drouet noticed this. He saw the new bow in her hair 
and the new way of arranging her locks which she affected 
one morning. 

• • You look fine that way, Cad," he said. 

" Do I ? " she replied, sweetly. It made her try for 
other effects that selfsame day. 

She used her feet less heavily, a thing that was brought 
about by her attempting to imitate the treasurer's daugh- 
ter's graceful carriage. How much influence the presence 
of that young woman in the same house had upon her it 
would be difficult to say. But, because of all these things, 
when Hurstwood called he had found a young woman 
who was much more than the Carrie to whom Drouet had 
first spoken. The primary defects of dress and manner 
had passed. She was pretty, graceful, rich in the timidity 
born of uncertainty, and with a something childlike in her 
large eyes which captured the fancy of this starched and 
conventional poser among men. It was the ancient at- 
traction of the fresh for the stale. If there was a touch of 
appreciation left in him for the bloom and unsophistica- 
tion which is the charm of youth, it rekindled now. He 
looked into her pretty face and felt the subtle waves of 



SISTER CARRIE 



117 



young life radiating therefrom. In that large clear eye 
he could see nothing that his blase nature could under- 
stand as guile. The little vanity, if he could have per- 
ceived it there, would have touched him as a pleasant 
thing. 

" I wonder," he said, as he rode away in his cab, " how 
Drouet came to win her." 

He gave her credit for feelings superior to Drouet at 
the first glance. 

The cab plopped along between the far-receding lines 
of gas lamps on either hand. He folded his gloved hands 
and saw only the lighted chamber and Carrie's face. He 
was pondering over the delight of youthful beauty. 

" I'll have a bouquet for her," he thought. " Drouet 
won't mind." 

He never for a moment concealed the fact of her at- 
traction for himself. He troubled himself not at all about 
Drouet's priority. He was merely floating those gos- 
samer threads of thought which, like the spider's, he 
hoped would lay hold somewhere. He did not know, he 
could not guess, what the result would be. 

A few weeks later Drouet, in his peregrinations, en- 
countered one of his well-dressed lady acquaintances in 
Chicago on his return from a short trip to Omaha. He 
had intended to hurry out to Ogden Place and surprise 
Carrie, but now he fell into an interesting conversation 
and soon modified his original intention. 

" Let's go to dinner," he said, little recking any chance 
meeting which might trouble his way. 

" Certainly," said his companion. 

They visited one of the better restaurants for a social 
chat. It was five in the afternoon when they met ; it was 
seven-thirty before the last bone was picked. 

Drouet was just finishing a little incident he was re- 
lating, and his face was expanding into a smile, when 



118 SISTER CARRIE 

Hurstwood's eye caught his own. The latter had come in 
with several friends, and, seeing Drouet and some woman, 
not Carrie, drew his own conclusion. 

" Ah, the rascal," he thought, and then, with a touch of 
righteous sympathy, " that's pretty hard on the little 
girl." 

Drouet jumped from one easy thought to another as 
he caught Hurstwood's eye. He felt but very little mis- 
giving, until he saw that Hurstwood was cautiously pre- 
tending not to see. Then some of the latter's impression 
forced itself upon him. He thought of Carrie and their 
last meeting. By George, he would have to explain this to 
Hurstwood. Such a chance half-hour with an old friend 
must not have anything more attached to it than it really 
warranted. 

For the first time he was troubled. Here was a moral 
complication of which he could not possibly get the ends. 
Hurstwood would laugh at him for being a fickle boy. 
He would laugh with Hurstwood. Carrie would never 
hear, his present companion at table would never know, 
and yet he could not help feeling that he was getting the 
worst of it — there was some faint stigma attached, and he 
was not guilty. He broke up the dinner by becoming 
dull, and saw his companion on her car. Then he went 
home. 

" He hasn't talked to me about any of these later 
flames," thought Hurstwood to himself. " He thinks I 
think he cares for the girl out there." 

" He ought not to think I'm knocking around, since I 
have just introduced him out there," thought Drouet. 

" I saw you," Hurstwood said, genially, the next time 
Drouet drifted in to his polished resort, from which he 
could not stay away. He raised his forefinger indica- 
tively, as parents do to children. 

" An old acquaintance of mine that I ran into just as I 



SISTER CARRIE 



119 



was coming up from the station," explained Drouet. 
" She used to be quite a beauty." 

" Still attracts a little, eh ? " returned the other, affecting 
to jest. 

" Oh, no," said Drouet, " just couldn't escape her this 
time." 

" How long are you here ? " asked Hurstwood. 

" Only a few days." 

" You must bring the girl down and take dinner with 
me," he said. " I'm afraid you keep her cooped up out 
there. I'll get a box for Joe Jefferson." 

" Not me," answered the drummer. " Sure I'll come." 

This pleased Hurstwood immensely. He gave DrOuet 
no credit for any feelings toward Carrie whatever. He 
envied him, and now, as he looked at the well-dressed, 
jolly salesman, whom he so much liked, the gleam of the 
rival glowed in his eye. He began to " size up " Drouet 
from the standpoints of wit and fascination. He began to 
look to see where he was weak. There was no disputing 
that, whatever he might think of him as a good fellow, 
he felt a certain amount of contempt for him as a lover. 
He could hoodwink him all right. Why, if he would just 
let Carrie see one such little incident as that of Thursday, 
it would settle the matter. He ran on in thought, almost 
exulting, the while he laughed and chatted, and Drouet 
felt nothing. He had no power of analysing the glance 
and the atmosphere of a man like Hurstwood. He stood 
and smiled and accepted the invitation while his friend 
examined him with the eye of a hawk. 

The object of this peculiarly involved comedy was not 
thinking of either. She was busy adjusting her thoughts 
and feelings to newer conditions, and was not in danger 
of suffering disturbing pangs from either quarter. 

One evening Drouet found her dressing herself before 
the glass. 



120 SISTER CARRIE 

" Cad," said he, catching her, " I believe you're getting 
vain." 

" Nothing of the kind," she returned, smiling. 

" Well, you're mighty pretty," he went on, slipping his 
arm around her. " Put on that navy-blue dress of yours 
and I'll take you to the show." 

" Oh, I've promised Mrs. Hale to go with her to the 
Exposition to-night," she returned, apologetically. 

" You did, eh ? " he said, studying the situation ab- 
stractedly. " I wouldn't care to go to that myself." 

" Well, I don't know," answered Carrie, puzzling, but 
not offering to break her promise in his favour. 

Just then a knock came at their door and the maid- 
servant handed a letter in. 

" He says there's an answer expected," she explained. 

" It's from Hurstwood," said Drouet, noting the super- 
scription as he tore it open. 

" You are to come down and see Joe Jefferson with me 
to-night," it ran in part. " It's my turn, as we agreed the 
other day. All other bets are off." 

" Well, what do you say to this ? " asked Drouet, in- 
nocently, while Carrie's mind bubbled with favourable 
replies. 

" You had better decide, Charlie," she said, reservedly. 

" I guess we had better go, if you can break that en- 
gagement upstairs," said Drouet. 

" Oh, I can," returned Carrie without thinking. 

Drouet selected writing paper while Carrie went to 
change her dress. She hardly explained to herself why 
this latest invitation appealed to her most. 

"Shall I wear my hair as I did yesterday?" sKe 
asked, as she came out with several articles of apparel 
pending. 

" Sure," he returned, pleasantly. 

She was relieved to see that he felt nothing-. She did 



SISTER CARRIE UI 

not credit her willingness to go to any fascination Hurst- 
wood held for her. It seemed that the combination of 
Hurstwood, Drouet, and herself was more agreeable 
than anything else that had been suggested. She arrayed 
herself most carefully and they started off, extending 
excuses upstairs. 

" I say," said Hurstwood, as they came up the theatre 
lobby, " we are exceedingly charming this evening." 

Carrie fluttered under his approving glance. 

" Now, then," he said, leading the way up the foyer into 
the theatre. 

If ever there was dressiness it was here. It was the per- 
sonification of the old term spick and span. 

" Did you ever see Jefferson ? " he questioned, as he 
leaned toward Carrie in the box. 

" I never did," she returned. 

" He's delightful, delightful," he went on, giving the 
commonplace rendition of approval which such men 
know. He sent Drouet after a programme, and then dis- 
coursed to Carrie concerning Jefferson as he had heard 
of him. The former was pleased beyond expression, and 
was really hypnotised by the environment, the trappings 
of the box, the elegance of her companion. Several times 
their eyes accidentally met, and then there poured into 
hers such a flood of feeling as she had never before experi- 
enced. She could not for the moment explain it, for in 
.the next glance or the next move of the hand there was 
seeming indifference, mingled only with the kindest at- 
tention. 

Drouet shared in the conversation, but he was almost 
dull in comparison. Hurstwood entertained them both, 
and now it was driven into Carrie's mind that here was the 
superior man. She instinctively felt that he was stronger 
and higher, and yet withal so simple. By the end of the 
third act she was sure that Drouet was only a kindly soul, 



122 SISTER CARRIE 

but otherwise defective. He sank every moment in her 
estimation by the strong comparison. 

" I have had such a nice time," said Carrie, when it was 
all over and they were coming out. 

" Yes, indeed," added Drouet, who was not in the least 
aware that a battle had been fought and his defences 
weakened. He was like the Emperor of China, who sat 
glorying in himself, unaware that his fairest provinces 
were being wrested from him. 

" Well, you have saved me a dreary evening," returned 
Hurstwood. " Good-night." 

He took Carrie's little hand, and a current of feeling 
swept from one to the other. 

" I'm so tired," said Carrie, leaning back in the car 
when Drouet began to talk. 

" Well, you rest a little while I smoke," he said, rising, 
and then he foolishly went to the forward platform of the 
car and left the game as it stood. 



CHAPTER XII 

OF THE LAMPS OF THE MANSIONS I THE AMBASSADOR'S 
, ' PLEA 

Mrs. Htirstwood was not aware of any of her hus- 
band's moral defections, though she might readily have 
suspected his tendencies, which she well understood. 
She was a woman upon whose action under provocation 
you could never count. Hurstwood, for one, had not the 
slightest idea of what she would do under certain circum- 
stances. He had never seen her thoroughly aroused. In 
fact, she was not a woman who would fly into a passion. 
She had too little faith in mankind not to know that they 
were erring. She was too calculating to jeopardise any 
advantage she might gain in the way of information by 
fruitless clamour. Her wrath would never wreak itself 
in one fell blow. She would wait and brood, studying 
the details and adding to them until her power might be 
commensurate with her desire for revenge. At the same 
time, she would not delay to inflict any injury, big or little, 
which would wound the object of her revenge and still 
leave him uncertain as to the source of the evil. She was 
a cold, self-centred woman, with many a thought of her 
own which never found expression, not even by so much 
as the glint of an eye. 

Hurstwood felt some of this in her nature, though he 
did not actually perceive it. He dwelt with her in peace 
and some satisfaction. He did not fear her in the least — 
there was no cause for it. She still took a faint pride 
in him, which was augmented by her desire to have her 



124 SISTER CARRIE 

social integrity maintained. She was secretly somewhat 
pleased by the fact that much of her husband's property 
was in her name, a precaution which Hurstwood had 
taken when his home interests were somewhat more allur- 
ing than at present. His wife had not the slightest reason 
to feel that anything would ever go amiss with their 
household, and yet the shadows which run before gave 
her a thought of the good of it now and then. She was in 
a position to become refractory with considerable ad- 
vantage, and Hurstwood conducted himself circumspectly 
because he felt that he could not be sure of anything once 
she became dissatisfied. 

It so happened that on the night when Hurstwood, Car- 
rie, and Drouet were in the box at McVickar's, George, 
Jr., was in the sixth row of the parquet with the daughter 
of H. B. Carmichael, the third partner of a wholesale dry- 
goods house of that city. Hurstwood did not see his son, 
for he sat, as was his wont, as far back as possible, leaving 
himself just partially visible, when he bent forward, to 
those within the first six rows in question. It was his 
wont to sit this way in every theatre — to make his person- 
ality as inconspicuous as possible where it would be no 
advantage to him to have it otherwise. 

He never moved but what, if there was any danger of 
his conduct being misconstrued or ill-reported, he looked 
carefully about him and counted the cost of every inch of 
conspicuity. 

The next morning at breakfast his son said : 

" I saw you, Governor, last night." 

" Were you at McVickar's ? " said Hurstwood, with the 
best grace in the world. 

" Yes," said young George. 

" Who with ? " 

"Miss Carmichael." 

Mrs. Hurstwood directed an inquiring glance at her 



SISTER CARRIE 



125 



husband, but could not judge from his appearance 
whether it was any more than a casual look into the 
theatre which was referred to. 

" How was the play ? " she inquired. 

" Very good," returned Hurstwood, " only it's the 
same old thing, ' Rip Van Winkle.' " 

" Whom did you go with ? " queried his wife, with as- 
sumed indifference. 

" Charlie Drouet and his wife. They are friends of 
Moy's, visiting here." 

Owing to the peculiar nature of his position, such a dis- 
closure as this would ordinarily create no difficulty. His 
wife took it for granted that his situation called for certain 
social movements in which she might not be included. 
But of late he had pleaded office duty on several occasions 
when his wife asked for his company to any evening en- 
tertainment. He had done so in regard to the very even- 
ing in question only the morning before. 

" I thought you were going to be busy," she remarked, 
very carefully. 

" So I was," he exclaimed. " I couldn't help the inter- 
ruption, but I made up for it afterward by working until 
two." 

This settled the discussion for the time being, but 
there was a residue of opinion which was not satisfactory. 
There was no time at which the claims of his wife could 
have been more unsatisfactorily pushed. For years he 
had been steadily modifying his matrimonial devotion, 
and found her company dull. Now that a new light shone 
upon the horizon, this older luminary paled in the west. 
He was satisfied to turn his face away entirely, and any 
call to look back was irksome. 

She, on the contrary, was not at all inclined to accept 
anything less than a complete fulfilment of the letter of 
their relationship, though the spirit might be wanting. 



126 SISTER CARRIE 

11 We are coming down town this afternoon," she re- 
marked, a few days later. " I want you to come over to 
Kinsley's and meet Mr. Phillips and his wife. They're 
stopping at the Tremont, and we're going to show them 
around a little." 

After the occurrence of Wednesday, he could not re- 
fuse, though the Phillips were about as uninteresting as 
vanity and ignorance could make them. He agreed, but 
it was with short grace. He was angry when he left the 
house. 

" I'll put a stop to this," he thought. " I'm not going to 
be bothered fooling around with visitors when I have 
work to do." 

Not long after this Mrs. Hurstwood came with a sim- 
ilar proposition, only it was to a matinee this time. 

" My dear," he returned, " I haven't time. I'm too 
busy." 

" You find time to go with other people, though," she 
replied, with considerable irritation. 

" Nothing of the kind," he answered. " I can't avoid 
business relations, and that's all there is to it." 

" Well, never mind," she exclaimed. Her lips tightened. 
The feeling of mutual antagonism was increased. 

On the other hand, his interest in Drouet's little shop- 
girl grew in an almost evenly balanced proportion. That 
young lady, under the stress of her situation and the tute- 
lage of her new friend, changed effectively. She had the 
aptitude of the struggler who seeks emancipation. The 
glow of a more showy life was not lost upon her. She did 
not grow in knowledge so much as she awakened in the 
matter of desire. Mrs. Hale's extended harangues upon 
the subjects of wealth and position taught her to distin- 
guish between degrees of wealth. 

Mrs. Hale loved to drive in the afternoon in the sun 
when it was fine, and to satisfy her soul with a sight of 



SISTER CARRIE 12/ 

those mansions and lawns which she could not afford. 
On the North Side had been erected a number of elegant 
mansions along what is now known as the North Shore 
Drive. The present lake wall of stone and granitoid was 
not then in place, but the road had been well laid out, the 
intermediate spaces of lawn were lovely to look upon, and 
the houses were thoroughly new and imposing. When 
the winter season had passed and the first fine days of the 
early spring appeared, Mrs. Hale secured a buggy for 
an afternoon and invited Carrie. They rode first through 
Lincoln Park and on far out towards Evanston, turning 
back at four and arriving at the north end of the Shore 
Drive at about five o'clock. At this time of year the 
days are still comparatively short, and the shadows of the 
evening were beginning to settle down upon the great 
city. Lamps were beginning to burn with that mellow 
radiance which seems almost watery and translucent to 
the eye. There was a softness in the air which speaks 
with an infinite delicacy of feeling to the flesh as well as 
to the soul. Carrie felt that it was a lovely day. She was 
ripened by it in spirit for many suggestions. As they 
drove along the smooth pavement an occasional carriage 
passed. She saw one stop and the footman dismount, 
opening the door for a gentleman who seemed to be 
leisurely returning from some afternoon pleasure. 
Across the broad lawns, now first freshening into green, 
she saw lamps faintly glowing upon rich interiors. Now 
it was but a chair, now a table, now an ornate corner, 
which met her eye, but it appealed to her as almost noth- 
ing else could. Such childish fancies as she had had 
of fairy palaces and kingly quarters now came back. She 
imagined that across these richly carved entrance-ways, 
where the globed and crystalled lamps shone upon pan- 
elled doors set with stained and designed panes of glass, 
was neither care nor unsatisfied desire. She was perfectly 



128 SISTER CARRIE 

certain that here was happiness. If she could but stroll 
up yon broad walk, cross that rich entrance-way, which 
to her was of the beauty of a jewel, and sweep in grace and 
luxury to possession and command — oh ! how quickly 
would sadness flee; how, in an instant, would the heart- 
ache end. She gazed and gazed, wondering, delighting, 
longing, and all the while the siren voice of the unrestful 
was whispering in her ear. 

" If we could have such a home as that," said Mrs. 
Hale sadly, " how delightful it would be." 

" And yet they do say," said Carrie, " that no one is 
ever happy." 

She had heard so much of the canting philosophy of 
the grapeless fox. 

" I notice," said Mrs. Hale, " that they all try mighty 
hard, though, to take their misery in a mansion." 

When she came to her own rooms, Carrie saw their 
comparative insignificance. She was not so dull but 
that she could perceive they were but three small rooms in 
a moderately well-furnished boarding-house. She was 
not contrasting it now with what she had had, but what 
she had so recently seen. The glow of the palatial doors 
was still in her eye, the roll of cushioned carriages still 
in her ears. What, after all, was Drouet ? What was she ? 
At her window, she thought it over, rocking to and fro, 
and gazing out across the lamp-lit park toward the lamp- 
lit houses on Warren and Ashland avenues. She was too 
wrought up to care to go down to eat, too pensive to do 
aught but rock and sing. Some old tunes crept to her 
lips, and, as she sang them, her heart sank. She longed 
and longed and longed. It was now for the old cottage 
room in Columbia City, now the mansion upon the Shore 
Drive, now the fine dress of some lady, now the elegance 
of some scene. She was sad beyond measure, and yet un- 
certain, wishing, fancying. Finally, it seemed as if all her 



SISTER CARRIE 



129 



state was one of loneliness and forsakenness, and she 
could scarce refrain from trembling at the lip. She 
hummed and hummed as the moments went by, sitting 
in the shadow by the window, and was therein as happy, 
though she did not perceive it, as she ever would be. 

While Carrie was still in this frame of mind, the house- 
servant brought up the intelligence that Mr. Hurstwood 
was in the parlour asking to see Mr. and Mrs. Drouet. 

'* I guess he doesn't know that Charlie is out of town," 
thought Carrie. 

She had seen comparatively little of the manager during 
the winter, but had been kept constantly in mind of him by 
one thing and another, principally by the strong impres- 
sion he had made. She was quite disturbed for the mo- 
ment as to her appearance, but soon satisfied herself by 
the aid of the mirror, and went below. 

Hurstwood was in his best form, as usual. He hadn't 
heard that Drouet was out of town. He was but slightly 
affected by the intelligence, and devoted himself to the 
more general topics which would interest Carrie. It was 
surprising — the ease with which he conducted a conver- 
sation. He was like every man who has had the ad- 
vantage of practice and knows he has sympathy. He 
knew that Carrie listened to him pleasurably, and, without 
the least effort, he fell into a train of observation which ab- 
sorbed her fancy. He drew up his chair and modulated 
his voice to such a degree that what he said seemed 
wholly confidential. He confined himself almost ex- 
clusively to his observation of men and pleasures. He 
had been here and there, he had seen this and that. 
Somehow he made Carrie wish to see similar things, 
and all the while kept her aware of himself. She could not 
shut out the consciousness of his individuality and pres- 
ence for a moment. He would raise his eyes slowly in 
smiling emphasis of something, and she was fixed by 



130 SISTER CARRIE 

their magnetism. He would draw out, with the easiest 
grace, her approval. Once he touched her hand for em- 
phasis and she only smiled. He seemed to radiate an 
atmosphere which suffused her being. He was never dull 
for a minute, and seemed to make her clever. At least, 
she brightened under his influence until all her best side 
was exhibited. She felt that she was more clever with him 
than with others. At least, he seemed to find so much in 
her to applaud. There was not the slightest touch of 
patronage. Drouet was full of it. 

There had been something so personal, so subtle, in 
each meeting between them, both when Drouet was pres- 
ent and when he was absent, that Carrie could not speak 
of it without feeling a sense of difficulty. She was no 
talker. She could never arrange her thoughts in fluent 
order. It was always a matter of feeling with her, strong 
and deep. Each time there had been no sentence of im- 
portance which she could relate, and as for the glances and 
sensations, what woman would reveal them ? Such things 
had never been between her and Drouet. As a matter of 
fact, they could never be. She had been dominated by 
distress and the enthusiastic forces of relief which Drouet 
represented at an opportune moment when she yielded to 
him. Now she was persuaded by secret current feelings 
which Drouet had never understood. Hurstwood's 
glance was as effective as the spoken words of a lover, 
and more. They called for no immediate decision, and 
could not be answered. 

People in general attach too much importance to 
words. They are under the illusion that talking effects 
great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, 
the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but 
dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires 
which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is 
removed, the heart listens. 



SISTER CARRIE 131 

In this conversation she heard, instead of his words, 
the voices of the things which he represented. How suave 
was the counsel of his appearance ! How feelingly did his 
superior state speak for itself ! The growing desire he felt 
for her lay upon her spirit as a gentle hand. She did not 
need to tremble at all, because it was invisible ; she did not 
need to worry over what other people would say — what 
she herself would say — because it had no tangibility. She 
was being pleaded with, persuaded, led into denying old 
rights and assuming new ones, and yet there were no 
words to prove it. Such conversation as was indulged 
in held the same relationship to the actual mental 
enactments of the twain that the low music of the 
orchestra does to the dramatic incident which it is 
used to cover. 

" Have you ever seen the houses along the Lake Shore 
on the North Side ? " asked Hurstwood. 

" Why, I was just over there this afternoon — Mrs. Hale 
and I. Aren't they beautiful ? " 

" They're very fine," he answered. 

" Oh, me," said Carrie, pensively. " I wish I could live 
in such a place." 

" You're not happy," said Hurstwood, slowly, after a 
slight pause. 

He had raised his eyes solemnly and was looking into 
her own. He assumed that he had struck a deep chord. 
Now was a slight chance to say a word in his own behalf. 
He leaned over quietly and continued his steady gaze. 
He felt the critical character of the period. She en- 
deavoured to stir, but it was useless. The whole strength 
of a man's nature was working. He had good cause to 
urge him on. He looked and looked, and the longer the 
situation lasted the more difficult it became. The little 
shop-girl was getting into deep water. She was letting 
her few supports float away from her. 



132 SISTER CARRIE 

" Oh," she said at last, " you mustn't look at me like 
that." 

" I can't help it," he answered. 

She relaxed a little and let the situation endure, giving 
him strength. 

" You are not satisfied with life, are you ? " 

" No," she answered, weakly. 

He saw he was the master of the situation — he felt it. 
He reached over and touched her hand. 

" You mustn't," she exclaimed, jumping up. 

" I didn't intend to," he answered, easily. 

She did not run away, as she might have done. She did 
not terminate the interview, but he drifted off into a 
pleasant field of thought with the readiest grace. Not 
long after he rose to go, and she felt that he was 
in power. 

" You mustn't feel bad," he said, kindly ; " things will 
straighten out in the course of time." 

She made no answer, because she could think of noth- 
ing to say. 

" We are good friends, aren't we ? " he said, extending 
his hand. 

" Yes," she answered. 

" Not a word, then, until I see you again." 

He retained a hold on her hand... 

" I can't promise," she said, doubtfully. 

" You must be more generous than that," he said, in 
such a simple way that she was touched. 

" Let's not talk about it any more," she returned. 

" All right," he said, brightening. 

He went down the steps and into his cab. Carrie closed 
the door and ascended into her room. She undid her 
broad lace collar before the mirror and unfastened her 
pretty alligator belt which she had recently bought. 

" I'm getting terrible," she said, honestly affected by a 



SISTER CARRIE 133 

feeling of trouble and shame. " I don't seem to do any- 
thing right." 

She unloosed her hair after a time, and let it hang in 
loose brown waves. Her mind was going over the 
events of the evening. 

" I don't know," she murmured at last, " what I can 
do." 

" Well," said Hurstwood as he rode away, " she likes 
me all right ; that I know." 

The aroused manager whistled merrily for a good four 
miles to his office an old melody that he had not recalled 
for fifteen years. 



CHAPTER XIII 

HIS CREDENTIALS ACCEPTED: A BABEL OF TONGUES 

It was not quite two days after the scene between Carrie 
and Hurstwood in the Ogden Place parlour before he 
again put in his appearance. He had been thinking 
almost uninterruptedly of her. Her leniency had, in a 
way, inflamed his regard. He felt that he must succeed 
with her, and that speedily. 

The reason for his interest, not to say fascination, was 
deeper than mere desire. It was a flowering out of feel- 
ings which had been withering in dry and almost barren 
soil for many years. It is probable that Carrie repre- 
sented a better order of woman than had ever attracted 
him before. He had had no love affair since that which 
culminated in his marriage, and since then time and the 
'world had taught him how raw and erroneous was his 
original judgment. Whenever he thought of it, he told 
himself that, if he had it to do over again, he would never 
marry such a woman. At the same time, his experience 
with women in general had lessened his respect for the 
sex. He maintained a cynical attitude, well grounded on 
numerous experiences. Such women as he had known 
were of nearly one type, selfish, ignorant, flashy. The 
wives of his friends were not inspiring to look upon. His 
own wife had developed a cold, commonplace nature 
which to him was anything but pleasing. What he knew 
of that under-world where grovel the beast-men of society 
(and he knew a great deal) had hardened his nature. He 



SISTER CARRIE 135 

looked upon most women with suspicion — a single eye 
to the utility of beauty and dress. He followed them 
with a keen, suggestive glance. At the same time, he was 
not so dull but that a good woman commanded his respect. 
Personally, he did not attempt to analyse the marvel of a 
saintly woman. He would take off his hat, and would 
silence the light-tongued and the vicious in her presence 
— much as the Irish keeper of a Bowery hall will humble 
himself before a Sister of Mercy, and pay toll to charity 
with a willing and reverent hand. But he would not think 
much upon the question of why he did so. 

A man in his situation who comes, after a long round of 
worthless or hardening experiences, upon a young, un- 
sophisticated, innocent soul, is apt either to hold aloof, 
out of a sense of his own remoteness, or to draw near and 
become fascinated and elated by his discovery. It is only 
by a roundabout process that such men ever do draw near 
such a girl. They have no method, no understanding of 
how to ingratiate themselves in youthful favour, save 
when they find virtue in the toils. If, unfortunately, the 
fly has got caught in the net, the spider can come forth 
and talk business upon its own terms. So when maiden- 
hood has wandered into the moil of the city, when it is 
brought within the circle of the " rounder " and the roue, 
even though it be at the outermost rim, they can come 
forth and use their alluring arts. 

Hurstwood had gone, at Drouet's invitation, to meet 
a new baggage of fine clothes and pretty features. He 
entered, expecting to indulge in an evening of lightsome 
frolic, and then lose track of the newcomer forever. In- 
stead he found a woman whose youth and beauty at- 
tracted him. In the mild light of Carrie's eye was nothing 
of the calculation of the mistress. In the diffident manner 
was nothing of the art of the courtesan. He saw at once 
that a mistake had been made, that some difficult condi- 



I36 SISTER CARRIE 

tions had pushed this troubled creature into his presence, 
and his interest was enlisted. Here sympathy sprang to 
the rescue, but it was not unmixed with selfishness. He 
wanted to win Carrie because he thought her fate 
mingled with his was better than if it were united with 
Drouet's. He envied the drummer his conquest as he 
had never envied any man in all the course of his 
experience. 

Carrie was certainly better than this man, as she was 
superior, mentally, to Drouet. She came fresh from the 
air of the village, the light of the country still in her eye. 
Here was neither guile nor rapacity. There were slight 
inherited traits of both in her, but they were rudimentary. 
She was too full of wonder and desire to be greedy. She 
still looked about her upon the great maze of the city 
without understanding. Hurstwood felt the bloom and 
the youth. He picked her as he would the fresh fruit of 
a tree. He felt as fresh in her presence as one who is 
taken out of the flash of summer to the first cool breath of 
spring. 

Carrie, left alone since the scene in question, and hav- 
ing no one with whom to counsel, had at first wandered 
from one strange mental conclusion to another, until at 
last, tired out, she gave it up. She owed something to 
Drouet, she thought. It did not seem more than yester- 
day that he had aided her when she was worried and dis- 
tressed. She had the kindliest feelings for him in every 
way. She gave him credit for his good looks, his gen- 
erous feelings, and even, in fact, failed to recollect his 
egotism when he was absent; but she could not feel 
any binding influence keeping her for him as against all 
others. In fact, such a thought had never had any 
grounding, even in Drouet's desires. 

The truth is, that this goodly drummer carried the 
doom of all enduring relationships in his own lightsome 



SISTER CARRIE 1 37 

manner and unstable fancy. He went merrily on, as- 
sured that he was alluring all, that affection followed ten- 
derly in his wake, that things would endure unchangingly 
for his pleasure. When he missed some old face, or found 
some door finally shut to him, it did not grieve him deeply. 
He was too young, too successful. He would remain 
thus young in spirit until he was dead. 

As for Hurstwood, he was alive with thoughts and 
feelings concerning Carrie. He had no definite plans re- 
garding her, but he was determined to make her confess 
an affection for him. He thought he saw in her drooping 
eye, her unstable glance, her wavering manner, the symp- 
toms of a budding passion. He wanted to stand near her 
and make her lay her hand in his — he wanted to find out 
what her next step would be — what the next sign of feel- 
ing for him would be. Such anxiety and enthusiasm 
had not affected him for years. He was a youth again in 
feeling — a cavalier in action. 

In his position opportunity for taking his evenings out 
was excellent. He was a most faithful worker in general, 
and a man who commanded the confidence of his em- 
ployers in so far as the distribution of his time was con- 
cerned. He could take such hours off as he chose, for it 
was well known that he fulfilled his managerial duties 
successfully, whatever time he might take. His grace, 
tact, and ornate appearance gave the place an air which 
was most essential, while at the same time his long ex- 
perience made him a most excellent judge of its stock 
necessities. Bartenders and assistants might come and 
go, singly or in groups, but, so long as he was present, 
the host of old-time customers would barely notice the 
change. He gave the place the atmosphere to which they 
were used. Consequently, he arranged his hours very 
much to suit himself, taking now an afternoon, now an 
evening, but invariably returning between eleven and 



138 SISTER CARRIE 

twelve to witness the last hour or two of the day's busi- 
ness and look after the closing details. 

" You see that things are safe and all the employees 
are out when you go home, George," Moy had once re- 
marked to him, and he never once, in all the period of his 
long service, neglected to do this. Neither of the owners 
had for years been in the resort after five in the afternoon, 
and yet their manager as faithfully fulfilled this request 
as if they had been there regularly to observe. 

On this Friday afternoon, scarcely two days after his 
previous visit, he made up his mind to see Carrie. He 
could not stay away longer. 

" Evans," he said, addressing the head barkeeper, " if 
any one calls, I will be back between four and five." 

He hurried to Madison Street and boarded a horse-car, 
which carried him to Ogden Place in half an hour. 

Carrie had thought of going for a walk, and had put on 
a light grey woollen dress with a jaunty double-breasted 
jacket. She had out her hat and gloves, and was fasten- 
ing a white lace tie about her throat when the housemaid 
brought up the information that Mr. Hurstwood wished 
to see her. 

She started slightly at the announcement, but told the 
girl to say that she would come down in a moment, and 
proceeded to hasten her dressing. 

Carrie could not have told herself at this moment 
whether she was glad or sorry that the impressive man- 
ager was awaiting her presence. She was slightly flurried 
and tingling in the cheeks, but it was more nervousness 
than either fear or favour. She did not try to conjecture 
what the drift of the conversation would be. She only 
felt that she must be careful, and that Hurstwood had an 
indefinable fascination for her. Then she gave her tie its 
last touch with her fingers and went below. 

The deep-feeling manager was himself a little strained 



SISTER CARRIE 1 39 

in the nerves by the thorough consciousness of his mis- 
sion. He felt that he must make a strong play on this 
occasion, but now that the hour was come, and he heard 
Carrie's feet upon the stair, his nerve failed him. He sank 
a little in determination, for he was not so sure, after all, 
what her opinion might be. 

When she entered the room, however, her appearance 
gave him courage. She looked simple and charming 
enough to strengthen the daring of any lover. Her ap- 
parent nervousness dispelled his own. 

" How are you? " he said, easily. " I could not resist 
the temptation to come out this afternoon, it was so 
pleasant." 

" Yes," said Carrie, halting before him, " I was just 
preparing to go for a walk myself." 

" Oh, were you ? " he said. " Supposing, then, you get 
your hat and we both go ? " 

They crossed the park and went west along Washing- 
ton Boulevard, beautiful with its broad macadamised road, 
and large frame houses set back from the sidewalks. It 
was a street where many of the more prosperous residents 
of the West Side lived, and Hursiwood could not help 
feeling nervous over the publicity of it. They had gone 
but a few blocks when a livery stable sign in one of 
the side streets solved the difficulty for him. He would 
take her to drive along the new Boulevard. 

The Boulevard at that time was little more than a 
country road. The part he intended showing her was 
much farther out on this same West Side, where there 
was scarcely a house. It connected Douglas Park with 
Washington or South Park, and was nothing more than 
a neatly made road, running due south for some five miles 
over an open, grassy prairie, and then due east over the 
same kind of prairie for the same distance. There was 
not a house to be encountered anywhere along the larger 



I 4 SISTER CARRIE 

part of the route, and any conversation would be pleas- 
antly free of interruption. 

At the stable he picked a gentle horse, and they were 
soon out of range of either public observation or hearing. 

" Can you drive ? " he said, after a time. 

" I never tried," said Carrie. 

He put the reins in her hand, and folded his arms. 

" You see there's nothing to it much," he said, smil- 
ingly. 

" Not when you have a gentle horse," said Carrie. 

" You can handle a horse as well as any one, after a 
little practice," he added, encouragingly. 

He had been looking for some time for a break in the 
conversation when he could give it a serious turn. Once 
or twice he had held his peace, hoping that in silence her 
thoughts would take the colour of his own, but she had 
lightly continued the subject. Presently, however, his 
silence controlled the situation. The drift of his thoughts 
began to tell. He gazed fixedly at nothing in particular, 
as if he were thinking of something which concerned her 
not at all. His thoughts, however, spoke for themselves. 
She was very much aware that a climax was pending. 

" Do you know," he said, " I have spent the happiest 
evenings in years since I have known you ? " 

" Have you ? " she said, with assumed airiness, but still 
excited by the conviction which the tone of his voice 
carried. 

" I was going to tell you the other evening," he added, 
" but somehow the opportunity slipped away." 

Carrie was listening without attempting to reply. She 
could think of nothing worth while to say. Despite all 
the ideas concerning right which had troubled her 
vaguely since she had last seen him, she was now influ- 
enced again strongly in his favour. 

" I came out here to-day," he went on, solemnly, " to 



SISTER CARRIE 



141 



tell you just how I feel — to see if you wouldn't listen to 
me." 

Hurstwood was something of a romanticist after his 
kind. He was capable of strong feelings — often poetic 
ones — and under a stress of desire, such as the present, he 
waxed eloquent. That is, his feelings and his voice were 
coloured with that seeming repression and pathos which 
is the essence of eloquence. 

" You know," he said, putting his hand on her arm, 
and keeping a strange silence while he formulated words, 
"that I love you?" 

Carrie did not stir at the words. She was bound up com- 
pletely in the man's atmosphere. He would have church- 
like silence in order to express his feelings, and she kept 
it. She did not move her eyes from the flat, open scene 
before her. Hurstwood waited for a few moments, and 
then repeated the words. 

" You must not say that," she said, weakly. 

Her words were not convincing at all. They were the 
result of a feeble thought that something ought to be said. 
He paid no attention to them whatever. 

" Carrie," he said, using her first name with sympa- 
thetic familiarity, " I want you to love me.. You don't 
know how much I need some one to waste a little affection 
on me. I am practically alone. There is nothing in my 
life that is pleasant or delightful. It's all work and worry 
with people who are nothing to me." 

As he said this, Hurstwood really imagined that his 
state was pitiful. He had the ability to get off at a dis- 
tance and view himself objectively — of seeing what he 
wanted to see in the things which made up his exist- 
ence. Now, as he spoke, his voice trembled with that 
peculiar vibration which is the result of tensity. It 
went ringing home to his companion's heart. 

" Why, I should think," she said, turning upon him 



142 



SISTER CARRIE 



large eyes which were full of sympathy and feeling, " that 
you would be very happy. You know so much of the 
world." 

" That is it," he said, his voice dropping to a soft minor, 
" I know too much of the world." 

It was an important thing to her to hear one so well- 
positioned an'i powerful speaking in this manner. She 
could not help feeling the strangeness of her situation. 
How was it that, in so little a while, the narrow life of the 
country had fallen from her as a garment, and the city, 
with all its mystery, taken its place ? Here was this great- 
est mystery, the man of money and affairs sitting beside 
her, appealing to her. Behold, he had ease and comfort, 
his strength was great, his position high, his clothing 
rich, and yet he was appealing to her. She could formu- 
late no thought which would be just and right. She 
troubled herself no more upon the matter. She only 
basked in the warmth of his feeling, which was as a 
grateful blaze to one who is cold. Hurstwood glowed 
with his own intensity, and the heat of his passion 
was already melting the wax of his companion's 
scruples. 

" You think," he said, " I am happy ; that I ought not 
to complain? If you were to meet all day with people 
who care absolutely nothing about you, if you went day 
after day to a place where there was nothing but show 
and indifference, if there was not one person in all those 
you knew to whom you could appeal for sympathy or talk 
to with pleasure, perhaps you would be unhappy 
too." 

He was striking a chord now which found sympathetic 
response in her own situation. She knew what it was to 
meet with people Who were indifferent, to walk alone amid 
so many who cared absolutely nothing about you. Had 
not she ? Was not she at this very moment quite alone ? 



SISTER CARRIE 



H3 



Who was there among all whom she knew to whom she 
could appeal for sympathy? Not one. She was left to 
herself to brood and wonder. 

" I could be content," went on Hurstwood, " if I had 
you to love me. If I had you to go to ; you for a com- 
panion. As it is, I simply move about from place to place 
without any satisfaction. Time hangs heavily on my 
hands. Before you came I did nothing but idle and drift 
into anything that offered itself. Since you came — well, 
I've had you to think about." 

The old illusion that here was some one who needed her 
aid began to grow in Carrie's mind. She truly pitied this 
sad, lonely figure. To think that all his fine state should 
be so barren for want of her ; that he needed to make such 
an appeal when she herself was lonely and without 
anchor. Surely, this was too bad. 

" I am not very bad," he said, apologetically, as if he 
owed it to her to explain on this score. " You think, 
probably, that I roam around, and get into all sorts of evil ? 
I have been rather reckless, but I could easily come out of 
that. I need you to draw me back, if my life ever amounts 
to anything." 

Carrie looked at him with the tenderness which virtue 
ever feels in its hope of reclaiming vice. How could such 
a man need reclaiming? His errors, what were they, 
that she could correct? Small they must be, where all 
was so fine. At worst, they were gilded affairs, and with 
what leniency are gilded errors viewed. 

He put himself in such a lonely light that she was deeply 
moved. 

" Is it that way? " she mused. 

He slipped his arm about her waist, and she could not 
find the heart to draw away. With his free hand he 
seized upon her fingers. A breath of soft spring wind 
went bounding over the road, rolling some brown twigs 



144 



SISTER CARRIE 



of the previous autumn before it. The horse paced 
leisurely on, unguided. 

" Tell me," he said, softly, " that you love me." 

Her eyes fell consciously. 

" Own to it, dear," he said, feelingly ; " you do, don't 
you?" 

She made no answer, but he felt his victory. 

" Tell me," he said, richly, drawing her so close that 
their lips were near together. He pressed her hand 
warmly, and then released it to touch her cheek. 

" You do ? " he said, pressing his lips to her own. 

For answer, her lips replied. 

" Now," he said, joyously, his fine eyes ablaze, " you're 
my own girl, aren't you ? " 

By way of further conclusion, her head lay softly upon 
his shoulder. 



CHAPTER XIV 

WITH EYES AND NOT SEEING: ONE INFLUENCE WANES 

Carrie in her rooms that evening was in a fine glow, 
physically and mentally. She was deeply rejoicing in her 
affection for Hurstwood and his love, and looked forward 
with fine fancy to their next meeting Sunday night. They 
had agreed, without any feeling of enforced secrecy, that 
she should come down town and meet him, though, after 
all, the need of it was the cause. 

Mrs. Hale, from her upper window, saw her come in. 

" Um," she thought to herself, " she goes riding with 
another man when her husband is out of the city. He 
had better keep an eye on her." 

The truth is that Mrs. Hale was not the only one who 
had a thought on this score. The house-maid who had 
welcomed Hurstwood had her opinion also. She had no 
particular regard for Carrie, whom she took to be cold and 
disagreeable. At the same time, she had a fancy for the 
merry and easy-mannered Drouet, who threw her a pleas- 
ant remark now and then, and in other ways extended her 
the evidence of that regard which he had for all members 
of the sex. Hurstwood was more reserved and critical in 
his manner. He did not appeal to this bodiced function- 
ary in the same pleasant way. She wondered that he came 
so frequently, that Mrs. Drouet should go out with him 
this afternoon when Mr. Drouet was absent. She gave 
vent to her opinions in the kitchen where the cook was. 
As a result, a hum of gossip was set going which moved 



146 SISTER CARRIE 

about the house in that secret manner common to 
gossip. 

Carrie, now that she had yielded sufficiently to Hurst- 
wood to confess her affection, no longer troubled about 
her attitude towards him. Temporarily she gave little 
thought to Drouet, thinking only of the dignity and grace 
of her lover and of his consuming affection for her. On 
the first evening, she did little but go over the details of 
the afternoon. It was the first time her sympathies had 
ever been thoroughly aroused, and they threw a new light 
on her character. She had some power of initiative, latent 
before, which now began to' exert itself. She looked more 
practically upon her state and began to see glimmerings 
of a way out. Hurstwood seemed a drag in the direction 
of honour. Her feelings were exceedingly creditable, in 
that they constructed out of these recent developments 
something which conquered freedom from dishonour. 
She had no idea what Hurstwood's next word would be. 
She only took his affection to be a fine thing, and ap- 
pended better, more generous results accordingly. 

As yet, Hurstwood had only a thought of pleasure with- 
out responsibility. He did not feel that he was doing 
anything to complicate his life. His position was secure, 
his home-life, if not satisfactory, was at least undisturbed, 
his personal liberty rather untrammelled. Carrie's love 
represented only so much added pleasure. He would 
enjoy this new gift over and above his ordinary allowance 
of pleasure. He would be happy with her and his own 
affairs would go on as they had, undisturbed. 

On Sunday evening Carrie dined with him at a place he 
had selected in East Adams Street, and thereafter they 
took a cab to what was then a pleasant evening resort out 
on Cottage Grove Avenue near 39th Street. In the proc- 
ess of his declaration he soon realised that Carrie took his 
love upon a higher basis than he had anticipated. She 



SISTER CARRIE 



U7 



kept him at a distance in a rather earnest way, and sub- 
mitted only to those tender tokens of affection which 
better become the inexperienced lover. Hurstwood saw 
that she was not to be possessed for the asking, and de- 
ferred pressing his suit too warmly. 

Since he feigned to believe in her married state he found 
that he had to carry out the part. His triumph, he saw, 
was still at a little distance. How far he could not guess. 

They were returning to Ogden Place in the cab, when 
he asked: 

" When will I see you again? " 

" I don't know," she answered, wondering herself. 

" Why not come down to The Fair," he suggested, 
" next Tuesday? " 

She shook her head. 

" Not so soon," she answered. 

" I'll tell you what I'll do," he added. " I'll write you, 
care of this West Side Post-office. Could you call next 
Tuesday? " 

Carrie assented. 

The cab stopped one door out of the way according to 
his call. 

" Good-night," he whispered, as the cab rolled away. 

Unfortunately for the smooth progression of this affair, 
Drouet returned. Hurstwood was sitting in his imposing 
little office the next afternoon when he saw Drouet enter. 

"Why, hello, Charles," he called affably; "back again?" 

" Yes," smiled Drouet, approaching and looking in at 
the door. 

Hurstwood arose. 

" Well," he said, looking the drummer over, " rosy as 
ever, eh? " 

They began talking of the people they knew and things 
that had happened. 

" Been home yet? " finally asked Hurstwood. 



148 SISTER CARRIE 

" No, I am going, though," said Drouet. 

" I remembered the little girl out there," said Hurst- 
wood, " and called once. Thought you wouldn't want 
her left quite alone." 

" Right you are," agreed Drouet. " How is she? " 

" Very well," said Hurstwood. " Rather anxious about 
you, though. You'd better go out now and cheer her 
up." 

" I will," said Drouet, smilingly. 

" Like to have you both come down and go to the 
show with me Wednesday," concluded Hurstwood at 
parting. 

" Thanks, old man," said his friend, " I'll see what the 
girl says and let you know." 

They separated in the most cordial manner. 

" There's a nice fellow," Drouet thought to himself as 
he turned the corner towards Madison. 

" Drouet is a good fellow," Hurstwood thought to him- 
self as he went back into his office, " but he's no man for 
Carrie." 

The thought of the latter turned his mind into a most 
pleasant vein, and he wondered how he would get ahead 
of the drummer. 

When Drouet entered Carrie's presence, he caught her 
in his arms as usual, but she responded to his kiss with a 
tremour of opposition. 

'■' Well," he said, " I had a great trip." 

" Did you? How did you come out with that La 
Crosse man you were telling me about?" 

" Oh, fine ; sold him a complete line. There was an- 
other fellow there, representing Burnstein, a regular 
hook-nosed sheeny, but he wasn't in it. I made him look 
like nothing at all." 

As he undid his collar and unfastened his studs, pre- 
paratory to washing his face and changing his clothes, he 



SISTER CARRIE 



149 



dilated upon his trip. Carrie could not help listening 
with amusement to his animated descriptions. 

" I tell you," he said, " I surprised the people at the 
office. I've sold more goods this last quarter than any 
other man of our house on the road. I sold three thou- 
sand dollars' worth in La Crosse." 

He plunged his face in a basin of water, and puffed and 
blew as he rubbed his neck and ears with his hands, while 
Carrie gazed upon him with mingled thoughts of recollec- 
tion and present judgment. He was still wiping his face, 
when he continued: 

" I'm going to strike for a raise in June. They can 
afford to pay it, as much business as I turn in. I'll get 
it too, don't you forget." 

" I hope you do," said Carrie. 

" And then if that little real estate deal I've got on goes 
through, we'll get married," he said with a great show of 
earnestness, the while he took his place before the mirror 
and began brushing his hair. 

" I don't believe you ever intend to marry me, Charlie," 
Carrie said ruefully. The recent protestations of Hurst- 
wood had given her courage to say this. 

" Oh, yes I do — course I do — what put that into your 
head? " 

He had stopped his trifling before the mirror now and 
crossed over to her. For the first time Carrie felt as if 
she must move away from him. 

" But you've been saying that so long," she said, look- 
ing with her pretty face upturned into his. 

" Well, and I mean it too, but it takes money to live as 
I want to. Now, when I get this increase, I can come 
pretty near fixing things all right, and I'll do it. Now, 
don't you worry, girlie." 

He patted her reassuringly upon the shoulder, but Car- 
rie felt how really futile had been her hopes. She could 



150 SISTER CARRIE 

clearly see that this easy-going soul intended no move in 
her behalf. He was simply letting things drift because 
he preferred the free round of his present state to any legal 
trammellings. 

In contrast, Hurstwood appeared strong and sincere. 
He had no easy manner of putting her off. He sympa- 
thised with her and showed her what her true value was. 
He needed her, while Drouet did not care. 

" Oh, no," she said remorsefully, her tone reflecting 
some of her own success and more of her helplessness, 
" you never will." 

" Well, you wait a little while and see," he concluded. 
" I'll marry you all right." 

Carrie looked at him and felt justified. She was look- 
ing for something which would calm her conscience, and 
here it was, a light, airy disregard of her claims upon his 
justice. He had faithfully promised to marry her, and 
this was the way he fulfilled his promise. 

" Say," he said, after he had, as he thought, pleasantly 
disposed of the marriage question, " I saw Hurstwood 
to-day, and he wants us to go to the theatre with him." 

Carrie started at the name, but recovered quickly 
enough to avoid notice. 

" When? " she asked, with assumed indifference. 

"Wednesday. We'll go, won't we?" 

" If you think so," she answered, her manner being so 
enforcedly reserved as to almost excite suspicion. Drouet 
noticed something, but he thought it was due to her feel- 
ings concerning their talk about marriage. 

" He called once, he said." 

" Yes," said Carrie, " he was out here Sunday evening." 

"Was he?" said Drouet. "I thought from what he 
said that he had called a week or so ago." 

" So he did," answered Carrie, who was wholly unaware 
of what conversation her lovers might have held. She 



SISTER CARRIE 151 

was all at sea mentally, and fearful of some entanglement 
which might ensue from what she would answer. 

" Oh, then he called twice ? " said Drouet, the first 
shade of misunderstanding showing in his face. 

" Yes," said Carrie innocently, feeling now that Hurst- 
wood must have mentioned but one call. 

Drouet imagined that he must have misunderstood his 
friend. He did not attach particular importance to the 
information, after all. 

" What did he have to say? " he queried, with slightly 
increased curiosity. 

"He said he came because he thought I might be 
lonely. You hadn't been in there so long he wondered 
what had become of you." 

" George is a fine fellow," said Drouet, rather gratified 
by his conception of the manager's interest. " Come on 
and we'll go out to dinner." 

When Hurstwood saw that Drouet was back he wrote 
at once to Carrie, saying: 

" I told him I called on you, dearest, when he was away. 
I did not say how often, but he probably thought once. 
Let me know of anything you may have said. Answer by 
special messenger when you get this, and, darling, I must 
see you. Let me know if you can't meet me at Jackson 
and Throop Streets Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock. 
I want to speak with you before we meet at the theatre." 

Carrie received this Tuesday morning when she called 
at the West Side branch of the post-office, and answered 
at once. 

" I said you called twice," she wrote. " He didn't seem 
to mind. I will try and be at Throop Street if nothing 
interferes. I seem to be getting very bad. It's wrong 
to act as I do, I know." 

Hurstwood, when he met her as agreed, reassured her 
on this score. 



152 SISTER CARRIE 

" You mustn't worry, sweetheart," he said. " Just as 
soon as he goes on the road again we will arrange some- 
thing. We'll fix it so that you won't have to deceive any 
one." 

Carrie imagined that he would marry her at once, 
though he had not directly said so, and her spirits rose. 
She proposed to make the best of the situation until 
Drouet left again. 

" Don't show any more interest in me than you ever 
have," Hurstwood counselled concerning the evening at 
the theatre. 

" You mustn't look at me steadily then," she answered, 
mindful of the power of his eyes. 

" I won't," he said, squeezing her hand at parting and 
giving the glance she had just cautioned against. 

" There," she said playfully, pointing a finger at him. 

" The show hasn't begun yet," he returned. 

He watched her walk from him with tender solicitation. 
Such youth and prettiness reacted upon him more subtly 
than wine. 

At the theatre things passed as they had in Hurstwood's 
favour. If he had been pleasing to Carrie before, how 
much more so was he now. His grace was more per- 
meating because it found a readier medium. Carrie 
watched his every movement with pleasure. She almost 
forgot poor Drouet, who babbled on as if he were the 
host. 

Hurstwood was too clever to give the slightest indica- 
tion of a change. He paid, if anything, more attention to 
his old friend than usual, and yet in no way held him up to 
that subtle ridicule which a lover in favour may so se- 
cretly practise before the mistress of his heart. If any- 
thing, he felt the injustice of the game as it stood, and was 
not cheap enough to add to it the slightest mental 
taunt. 



SISTER CARRIE 1 53 

Only the play produced an ironical situation, and this 
was due to Drouet alone. 

The scene was one in " The Covenant," in which the 
wife listened to the seductive voice of a lover in the ab- 
sence of her husband. 

" Served him right," said Drouet afterward, even in 
view of her keen expiation of her error. " I haven't any 
pity for' a man who would be such a chump as that." 

" Well, you never can tell," returned Hurstwood gently. 
" He probably thought he was right." 

" Well, a man ought to be more attentive than that to 
his wife if he wants to keep her." 

They had come out of the lobby and made their way 
through the showy crush about the entrance way. 

"Say, mister," said a voice at Hurstwood's side, "would 
you mind giving me the price of a bed? " 

Hurstwood was interestedly remarking to Carrie. 

" Honest to God, mister, I'm without a place to sleep." 

The plea was that of a gaunt-faced man of about thirty, 
who looked the picture of privation and wretchedness. 
Drouet was the first to see. He handed over a dime with 
an upwelling feeling of pity in his heart. Hurstwood 
scarcely noticed the incident. Carrie quickly forgot. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE IRK OF THE OLD TIES : THE MAGIC OF YOUTH 

The complete ignoring by Hurstwood of his own home 
came with the growth of his affection for Carrie. His 
actions, in all that related to his family, were of the most 
perfunctory kind. He sat at breakfast with his wife and 
children, absorbed in his own fancies, which reached far 
without the realm of their interests. He read his paper, 
which was heightened in interest by the shallowness of the 
themes discussed by his son and daughter. Between him- 
self and his wife ran a river of indifference. 

Now that Carrie had come, he was in a fair way to be 
blissful again. There was delight in going down town 
evenings. When he walked forth in the short days, the 
street lamps had a merry twinkle. He began to experience 
the almost forgotten feeling which hastens the lover's feet. 
When he looked at his fine clothes, he saw them with her 
eyes — and her eyes were young. 

When in the flush of such feelings he heard his wife's 
voice, when the insistent demands of matrimony recalled 
him from dreams to a stale practice, how it grated. He 
then knew that this was a chain which bound his feet. 

" George," said Mrs. Hurstwood, in that tone of voice 
which had long since come to be associated in his mind 
with demands, " we want you to get us a season ticket to 
the races." 

" Do you want to go to all of them? " he said with a 
rising inflection. 

" Yes," she answered. 



SISTER CARRIE 155 

The races in question were soon to open at Washington 
Park, on the South Side, and were considered quite so- 
ciety affairs among those who did not affect religious 
rectitude and conservatism. Mrs. Hurstwood had never 
asked for a whole season ticket before, but this year cer- 
tain considerations decided her to get a box. For one 
thing, one of her neighbours, a certain Mr. and Mrs. Ram- 
sey, who were possessors of money, made out of the coal 
business, had done so. In the next place, her favourite 
physician, Dr. Beale, a gentleman inclined to horses and 
betting, had talked with her concerning his intention to 
enter a two-year-old in the Derby. In the third place, 
she wished to exhibit Jessica, who was gaining in ma- 
turity and beauty, and whom she hoped to marry to a 
man of means. Her own desire to be about in such 
things and parade among her acquaintances and the com- 
mon throng was as much an incentive as anything. 

Hurstwood thought over the proposition a few mo- 
ments without answering. They were in the sitting- 
room on the second floor, waiting for supper. It was the 
evening of his engagement with Carrie and Drouet to see 
" The Covenant," which had brought him home to make 
some alterations in his dress. 

" You're sure separate tickets wouldn't do as well? " he 
asked, hesitating to say anything more rugged. 

" No," she replied impatiently. 

" Well," he said, taking offence at her manner, fcyou 
needn't get mad about it. I'm just asking you." 

" I'm not mad," she snapped. " I'm merely asking you 
for a season ticket." 

" And I'm telling you," he returned, fixing a clear, 
steady eye on her, " that it's no easy thing to get. I'm 
not sure whether the manager will give it to me." 

He had been thinking all the time of his " pull " with 
the race-track magnates. 



156 SISTER CARRIE 

" We can buy it then," she exclaimed sharply. 

" You talk easy," he said. " A season family ucket 
costs one hundred and fifty dollars." 

" I'll not argue with you," she replied with deter- 
mination. " I want the ticket and that's all there is 
to it." 

She had risen, and now walked angrily out of the room. 

" Well, you get it then," he said grimly, though in a 
modified tone of voice. 

As usual, the table was one short that evening. 

The next morning he had cooled down considerably, 
and later the ticket was duly secured, though it did not 
heal matters. He did not mind giving his family a fair 
share of all that he earned, but he did not like to be 
forced to provide against his will. 

" Did you know, mother," said Jessica another day, 
" the Spencers are getting ready to go away? " 

" No. Where, I wonder? " 

" Europe," said Jessica. " I met Georgine yesterday 
and she told me. She just put on more airs about it." 

" Did she say when? " 

" Monday, I think. They'll get a notice in the papers 
again — they always do." 

" Never mind," said Mrs. Hurstwood consolingly, 
" we'll go one of these days." 

Hurstwood moved his eyes over the paper slowly, but 
said nothing. 

" ' We sail for Liverpool from New York,' " Jessica ex- 
claimed, mocking her acquaintance. " ' Expect to spend 
most of the " summah " in France,' — vain thing. As if it 
was anything to go to Europe." 

" It must be if you envy her so much," put in Hurst- 
wood. 

It grated upon him to see the feeling his daughter dis- 
played. 



SISTER CARRIE 1 57 

" Don't worry over them, my dear," said Mrs. Hurst- 
wood. 

" Did George get off? " asked Jessica of her mother 
another day, thus revealing something that Hurstwood 
had heard nothing about. 

" Where has he gone ? " he asked, looking up. He 
ha'd never before been kept in ignorance concerning 
departures. 

" He was going to Wheaton," said Jessica, not noticing 
the slight put upon her father. 

"What's out there?" he asked, secretly irritated and 
chagrined to think that he should be made to pump for 
information in this manner. 

" A tennis match," said Jessica. 

" He didn't say anything to me," Hurstwood con- 
cluded, finding it difficult to refrain from a bitter tone. 

" I guess he must have forgotten," exclaimed his wife 
blandly. 

In the past he had always commanded a certain amount 
of respect, which was a compound of appreciation and 
awe. The familiarity which in part still existed between 
himself and his daughter he had courted. As it was, it 
did not go beyond the light assumption of words. The 
tone was always modest. Whatever had been, however, 
had lacked affection, and now he saw that he was losing 
track of their doings. His knowledge was no longer in- 
timate. He sometimes saw them at table, and sometimes 
did not. He heard of their doings occasionally, more 
often not. Some days he found that he was all at sea as 
to what they were talking about — things they had ar- 
ranged to do or that they had done in his absence. More 
affecting was the feeling that there were little things going 
on of which he no longer heard. Jessica was beginning 
to feel that her affairs were her own. George, Jr., flour- 
ished about as if he were a man entirely and must needs 



158 SISTER CARRIE 

have private matters. All this Hurstwood could see, and 
it left a trace of feeling, for he was used to being con- 
sidered — in his official position, at least — and felt that his 
importance should not begin to wane here. To darken 
it all, he saw the same indifference and independence 
growing in his wife, while he looked on and paid the 
bills. 

He consoled himself with the thought, however, that, 
after all, he was not without affection. Things might go 
as they would at his house, but he had Carrie outside of 
it. With his mind's eye he looked into her comfortable 
room in Ogden Place, where he had spent several such 
delightful evenings, and thought how charming it would 
be when Drouet was disposed of entirely and she was 
waiting evenings in cosey little quarters for him. That no 
cause would come up whereby Drouet would be led to 
inform Carrie concerning his married state, he felt hope- 
ful. Things were going so smoothly that he believed 
they would not change. Shortly now he would persuade 
Carrie and all would be satisfactory. 

The day after their theatre visit he began writing her 
regularly — a letter every morning, and begging her to do 
as much for him. He was not literary by any means, but 
experience of the world and his growing affection gave 
him somewhat of a style. This he exercised at his office 
desk with perfect deliberation. He purchased a box of 
delicately coloured and scented writing paper in mono- 
gram, which he kept locked in one of the drawers. His 
friends now wondered at the cleric and very official-look- 
ing nature of his position. The five bartenders viewed 
with respect the duties which could call a man to do so 
much desk-work and penmanship. 

Hurstwood surprised himself with his fluency. By the 
natural law which governs all effort, what he wrote reacted 
upon him. He began to feel those subtleties which he 



SISTER CARRIE 1 59 

could find words to express. With every expression came 
increased conception. Those inmost breathings which 
there found words took hold upon him. He thought 
Carrie worthy of all the affection he could there express. 

Carrie was indeed worth loving if ever youth and grace 
are to command that token of acknowledgment from life 
in their bloom. Experience had not yet taken away that 
freshness of the spirit which is the charm of the body. 
Her soft eyes contained in their liquid lustre no sugges- 
tion of the knowledge of disappointment. She had been 
troubled in a way by doubt and longing, but these had 
made no deeper impression than could be traced in a cer- 
tain open wistfulness of glance and speech. The mouth 
had the expression at times, in talking and in repose, of 
one who might be upon the verge of tears. It was not 
that grief was thus ever present. The pronunciation of 
certain syllables gave to her lips this peculiarity of for- 
mation — a formation as suggestive and moving as pathos 
itself. 

There was nothing bold in her manner. Life had not 
taught her domination — superciliousness of grace, which 
is the lordly power of some women. Her longing for 
consideration was not sufficiently powerful to move her 
to demand it. Even now she lacked self-assurance, but 
there was that in what she had already experienced 
which left her a little less than timid. She wanted pleas- 
ure, she wanted position, and yet she was confused as to 
what these things might be. Every hour the kaleido- 
scope of human affairs threw a new lustre upon some- 
thing, and therewith it became for her the desired — the all. 
Another shift of the box, and some other had become 
the beautiful, the perfect. 

On her spiritual side, also, she was rich in feeling, as 
such a nature well might be. Sorrow in her was aroused 
' by many a spectacle — an uncritical upwelling of grief for 



160 SISTER CARRIE 

the weak and the helpless. She was constantly pained 
by the sight of the white-faced, ragged men who slopped 
desperately by her in a sort of wretched mental stupor. 
The poorly clad girls who went blowing by her window 
evenings, hurrying home from some of the shops of the 
West Side, she pitied from the depths of her heart. She 
would stand and bite her lips as they passed, shaking her 
little head and wondering. They had so little, she 
thought. It was so sad to be ragged and poor. The 
hang of faded clothes pained her eyes. 

" And they have to work so hard! " was her only com- 
ment. 

On the street sometimes she would see men working — 
Irishmen with picks, coal-heavers with great loads to shov- 
el, Americans busy about some work which was a mere 
matter of strength — and they touched her fancy. Toil, now 
that she was free of it, seemed even a more desolate thing 
than when she was part of it. She saw it through a mist 
of fancy — a pale, sombre half-light, which was the essence 
of poetic feeling. Her old father, in his flour-dusted mil- 
ler's suit, sometimes returned to her in memory, revived 
by a face in a window. A shoemaker pegging at his last, 
a blastman seen through a narrow window in some base- 
ment where iron was being melted, a bench-worker seen 
high aloft in some window, his coat off, his sleeves rolled 
up; these took her back in fancy to the details of the mill. 
She felt, though she seldom expressed them, sad thoughts 
upon this score. Her sympathies were ever with that 
under- world of toil from which she had so recently sprung, 
and which she best understood. 

Though Hurstwood did not know it, he was dealing 
with one whose feelings were as tender and as delicate as 
this. He did not know, but it was this in her, after all, 
which attracted him. He never attempted to analyse the 
nature of his affection. It was sufficient that there was 



SISTER CARRIE 161 

tenderness in her eye, weakness in her manner, good- 
nature and hope in her thoughts. He drew near this lily, 
which had sucked its waxen beauty and perfume from be- 
low a depth of waters which he had never penetrated, and 
out of ooze and mould which he could not understand. He 
drew near because it was waxen and fresh. It lightened 
his feelings for him. It made the morning worth while. 

In a material way, she was considerably improved. 
Her awkwardness had all but passed, leaving, if anything, 
a quaint residue which was as pleasing as perfect grace. 
Her little shoes now fitted her smartly and had high heels. 
She had learned much about laces and those little neck- 
pieces which add so much to a woman's appearance. Her 
form had filled out until it was admirably plump and well- 
rounded. 

Hurstwood wrote her one morning, asking her to meet 
him in Jefferson Park, Monroe Street. He did not con- 
sider it policy to call any more, even when Drouet was at 
home. 

The next afternoon he was in the pretty little park by 
one, and had found a rustic bench beneath the green 
leaves of a lilac bush which bordered one of the paths. It 
was at that season of the year when the fulness of spring 
had not yet worn quite away. At a little pond near by 
some cleanly dressed children were sailing white canvas 
boats. In the shade of a green pagoda a bebuttoned 
officer of the law was resting, his arms folded, his club at 
rest in his belt. An old gardener was upon the lawn, 
with a pair of pruning shears, looking after some bushes. 
High overhead was the clear blue sky of the new summer, 
and in the thickness of the shiny green leaves of the trees 
hopped and twittered the busy sparrows. 

Hurstwood had come out of his own home that morn- 
ing feeling much of the same old annoyance. At his 
store he had idled, there being no need to write. He had 
11 



162 SISTER CARRIE 

come away to this place with the lightness of heart which 
characterises those who put weariness behind. Now, in 
the shade of this cool, green bush, he looked about him 
with the fancy of the lover. He heard the carts go lum- 
bering by upon the neighbouring streets, but they were 
far off, and only buzzed upon his ear. The hum of the 
surrounding city was faint, the clang of an occasional bell 
was as music. He looked and dreamed a new dream of 
pleasure which concerned his present fixed condition not 
at all. He got back in fancy to the old Hurstwood, who 
was neither married nor fixed in a solid position for life. 
He remembered the light spirit in which he once looked 
after the girls — how he had danced, escorted them home, 
hung over their gates. He almost wished he was back 
there again — here in this pleasant scene he felt as if he 
were wholly free. 

At two Carrie came tripping along the walk toward 
him, rosy and clean. She had just recently donned a 
sailor hat for the season with a band of pretty white-dotted 
blue silk. Her skirt was of a rich blue material, and her 
shirt waist matched it, with a thin stripe of blue upon a 
snow-white ground — stripes that were as fine as hairs. 
Her brown shoes peeped occasionally from beneath her 
skirt. She carried her gloves in her hand. 

Hurstwood looked up at her with delight. 

" You came, dearest," he said eagerly, standing to meet 
her and taking her hand. 

" Of course," she said, smiling; " did you think I 
wouldn't? " 

" I didn't know," he replied. 

He looked at her forehead, which was moist from her 
brisk walk. Then he took out one of his own soft, 
scented silk handkerchiefs and touched her face here and 
there. 

" 'Now," he said affectionately, " you're all right." 



SISTER CARRIE 1 63 

They were happy in being near one another — in look- 
ing into each other's eyes. Finally, when the long flush 
of delight had subsided, he said: 

" When is Charlie going away again? " 

" I don't know," she answered. " He says he has some 
things to do for the house here now." 

Hurstwood grew serious, and he lapsed into quiet 
thought. He looked up after a time to say: 

" Come away and leave him." 

He turned his eyes to the boys with the boats, as if the 
request were of little importance. 

" Where would we go? " she asked in much the same 
manner, rolling her gloves, and looking into a neighbour- 
ing tree. 

" Where do you want to go ? " he enquired. 

There was something in the tone in which he said this 
which made her feel as if she must record her feelings 
against any local habitation. 

" We can't stay in Chicago," she replied. 

He had no thought that this was in her mind — that any 
removal would be suggested. 

" Why not? " he asked softly. 

" Oh, because," she said, " I wouldn't want to." 

He listened to this with but dull perception of what it 
meant. It had no serious ring to it. The question was 
not up for immediate decision. 

" I would have to give up my position," he said. 

The tone he used made it seem as if the matter deserved 
only slight consideration. Carrie thought a little, the 
while enjoying the pretty scene. 

" I wouldn't like to live in Chicago and him here," she 
said, thinking of Drouet. 

" It's a big town, dearest," Hurstwood answered. " It 
would be as good as moving to another part of the country 
to move to the South Side," 



1 64 SISTER CARRIE 

He had fixed upon that region as an objective point. 

" Anyhow," said Carrie, " I shouldn't want to get mar- 
ried as long as he is here. I wouldn't want to run away." 

The suggestion of marriage struck Hurstwood forcibly. 
He saw clearly that this was her idea — he felt that it was 
not to be gotten over easily. Bigamy lightened the hori- 
zon of his shadowy thoughts for a moment. He won- 
dered for the life of him how it would all come out. He 
could not see that he was making any progress save in 
her regard. When he looked at her now, he thought her 
beautiful. What a thing it was to have her love him, even 
if it be entangling ! She increased in value in his eyes 
because of her objection. She was something to struggle 
for, and that was everything. How different from the 
women who yielded willingly! He swept the thought of 
them from his mind. 

" And you don't know when he'll go away? " asked 
Hurstwood, quietly. 

She shook her head. 

He sighed. 

" You're a determined little miss, aren't you? " he said, 
after a few moments, looking up into her eyes. 

She felt a wave of feeling sweep over her at this. It was 
pride at what seemed his admiration — affection for the 
man who could feel this concerning her. 

" No," she said coyly, " but what can I do? " 

Again he folded his hands and looked away over the 
lawn into the street. 

" I wish," he said pathetically, " you would come to me. 
I don't like to be away from you this way. What good 
is there in waiting? You're not any happier, are 
you?" 

"Happier!" she exclaimed softly, "you know better 
than that." 

" Here we are then," he went on in the same tone, 



SISTER CARRIE 165 

" wasting our days. If you are not happy, do you think 
I am? I sit and write to you the biggest part of the time. 
I'll tell you what, Carrie," he exclaimed, throwing sudden 
force of expression into his voice and fixing her with his 
eyes, " I can't live without you, and that's all there is to it. 
Now," he concluded, showing the palm of one of his white 
hands in a sort of at-an-end, helpless expression, " what 
shall I do?" 

This shifting of the burden to her appealed to Carrie. 
The semblance of the load without the weight touched 
the woman's heart. 

" Can't you wait a little while yet? " she said tenderly. 
" I'll try and find out when he's going." 

"What good will it do?" he asked, holding the same 
strain of feeling. 

" Well, perhaps we can arrange to go somewhere." 

She really did not see anything clearer than before, but 
she was getting into that frame of mind where, out of sym- 
pathy, a woman yields. 

Hurstwood did not understand. He was wondering 
how she was to be persuaded — what appeal would move 
her to forsake Drouet. He began to wonder how far her 
affection for him would carry her. He was thinking of 
some question which would make her tell. 

Finally he hit upon one of those problematical propo- 
sitions which often disguise our own desires while lead- 
ing us to an understanding of the difficulties which others 
make for us, and so discover for us a way. It had not the 
slightest connection with anything intended on his part, 
and was spoken at random before he had given it a mo- 
ment's serious thought. 

" Carrie," he said, looking into her face and assuming 
a serious look which he did not feel, " suppose I were to 
come to you next week, or this week for that matter — to- 
night say — and tell you I had to go away — that I couldn't 



1 66 SISTER CARRIE 

stay another minute and wasn't coming back any more — 
would you come with me? " 

His sweetheart viewed him with the most affectionate 
glance, her answer ready before the words were out of 
his mouth. 

" Yes," she said. 

" You wouldn't stop to argue or arrange? " 

" Not if you couldn't wait." 

He smiled when he saw that she took him seriously, 
and he thought what a chance it would afford for a pos- 
sible junket of a week or two. He had a notion to tell 
her that he was joking and so brush away her sweet seri- 
ousness, but the effect of it was too delightful. He let it 
stand. 

" Suppose we didn't have time to get married here? " he 
added, an afterthought striking him. 

" If we got married as soon as we got to the other end 
of the journey it would be all right." 

" I meant that," he said. 

" Yes." 

The morning seemed peculiarly bright to him now. 
He wondered whatever could have put such a thought 
into his head. Impossible as it was, he could not help 
smiling at its cleverness. It showed how she loved him. 
There was no doubt in his mind now, and he would find 
a way to win her. 

" Well," he said, jokingly, " I'll come and get you one 
of these evenings," and then he laughed. 

" I wouldn't stay with you, though, if you didn't marry 
me," Carrie added reflectively. 

" I don't want you to," he said tenderly, taking her 
hand. 

She was extremely happy now that she understood. 
She loved him the more for thinking that he would rescue 
her so. As for him, the marriage clause did not dwell in 



SISTER CARRIE 1 67 

his mind. He was thinking that with such affection there 
could be no bar to his eventual happiness. 

" Let's stroll about," he said gayly, rising and surveying 
all the lovely park. 

" All right," said Carrie. 

They passed the young Irishman, who looked after 
them with envious eyes. 

" "Tis a foine couple," he observed to himself. " They 
must be rich." 



CHAPTER XVI 

A WITLESS ALADDIN: THE GATE TO THE WORLD 

In the course of his present stay in Chicago, Drouet paid 
some slight attention to the secret order to which he be- 
longed. During his last trip he had received a new light 
on its importance. 

" I tell you," said another drummer to him, " it's a great 
thing. Look at Hazenstab. He isn't so deuced clever. 
Of course he's got a good house behind him, but that 
won't do alone. I tell you it's his degree. He's a way-up 
Mason, and that goes a long way. He's got a secret sign 
that stands for something." 

Drouet resolved then and there that he would take 
more interest in such matters. So when he got back to 
Chicago he repaired to his local lodge headquarters. 

" I say, Drouet," said Mr. Harry Quincel, an individual 
who was very prominent in this local branch of the Elks, 
" you're the man that can help us out." 

It was after the business meeting and things were going 
socially with a hum. Drouet was bobbing around chat- 
ting and joking with a score of individuals whom he knew. 

" What are you up to?" he inquired genially, turning 
a smiling face upon his secret brother. 

" We're trying to get up some theatricals for two weeks 
from to-day, and we want to know if you don't know some 
young lady who could take a part — it's an easy part." 

" Sure," said Drouet, " what is it? " He did not trouble 
to remember that he knew no one to whom he could 



SISTER CARRIE 169 

appeal on this score. His innate good-nature, however, 
dictated a favourable reply. 

" Well, now, I'll tell you what we are trying to do," 
went on Mr. Quincel. " We are trying to get a new set 
of furniture for the lodge. There isn't enough money in 
the treasury at the present time, and we thought we would 
raise it by a little entertainment." 

" Sure," interrupted Drouet, " that's a good idea." 

" Several of the boys around here have got talent. 
There's Harry Burbeck, he does a fine black-face turn. 
Mac Lewis is all right at heavy dramatics. Did you ever 
hear him recite ' Over the Hills ' ? " 

" Never did." 

" Well, I tell you, he does it fine." 

" And you want me to get some woman to take a part? " 
questioned Drouet, anxious to terminate the subject and 
get on to something else. " What are you going to 
play?" 

" ' Under the Gaslight,' " said Mr. Quincel, mentioning 
Augustin Daly's famous production, which had worn 
from a great public success down to an amateur theatrical 
favourite, with many of the troublesome accessories cut 
out and the dramatis persona reduced to the smallest pos- 
sible number. 

Drouet had seen this play some time in the past. 

" That's it," he said; " that's a fine play. It will go all 
right. You ought to make a lot of money out of that." 

" We think we'll do very well," Mr. Quincel replied. 
" Don't you forget now," he concluded, Drouet showing 
signs of restlessness ; " some young woman to take the 
part of Laura." 

" Sure, I'll attend to it." 

He moved away, forgetting almost all about it the mo- 
ment Mr. Quincel had ceased talking. He had not even 
thought to ask the time or place. 



170 SISTER CARRIE 

Drouet was reminded of his promise a day or two later 
by the receipt of a letter announcing that the first rehear- 
sal was set for the following Friday evening, and urging 
him to kindly forward the young lady's address at once, in 
order that the part might be delivered to her. 

" Now, who the deuce do I know? " asked the drum- 
mer reflectively, scratching his rosy ear. " I don't 
know any one that knows anything about amateur 
theatricals." 

He went over in memory the names of a number of 
women he knew, and finally fixed on one, largely because 
of the convenient location of her home on the West Side, 
and promised himself that as he came out that evening he 
would see her. When, however, he started west on the 
car he forgot, and was only reminded of his delinquency 
by an item in the " Evening News " — a small three-line 
affair under the head of Secret Society Notes — which 
stated the Custer Lodge of the Order of Elks would give 
a theatrical performance in Avery Hall on the 16th, when 
" Under the Gaslight " would be produced. 

" George ! " exclaimed Drouet, " I forgot that." 

" What? " inquired Carrie. 

They were at their little table in the room which might 
have been used for a kitchen, where Carrie occasionally 
served a meal. To-night the fancy had caught her, and 
the little table was spread with a pleasing repast. 

" Why, my lodge entertainment. They're going to give 
a play, and they wanted me to get them some young lady 
to take a part." 

" What is it they're going to play? " 

" ' Under the Gaslight.' " 

"When?" 

" On the 16th." 

"Well, why don't you?" asked Carrie. 

" I don't know any one," he replied. 



SISTER CARRIE 171 

Suddenly he looked up. 

" Say," he said, " how would you like to take the part? " 

" Me? " said Carrie. " I can't act." 

" How do you know? " questioned Drouet reflectively. 

" Because," answered Carrie, " I never did." 

Nevertheless, she was pleased to think he would ask. 
Her eyes brightened, for if there was anything that en- 
listed her sympathies it was the art of the stage. 

True to his nature, Drouet clung to this idea as an easy 
way out. 

" That's nothing. You can act all you have to down 
there." 

" No, I can't," said Carrie weakly, very much drawn 
toward the proposition and yet fearful. 

" Yes, you can. Now, why don't you do it? They 
need some one, and it will be lots of fun for you." 

" Oh, no, it won't," said Carrie seriously. 

" You'd like that. I know you would. I've seen you 
dancing around here and giving imitations and that's why 
I asked you. You're clever enough, all right." 

" No, I'm not," said Carrie shyly. 

"Now, I'll tell you what you do. You go down and 
see about it. It'll be fun for you. The rest of the com- 
pany isn't going to be any good. They haven't any ex- 
perience. What do they know about theatricals? " 

He frowned as he thought of their ignorance. 

" Hand me the coffee," he added. 

" I don't believe I could act, Charlie," Carrie went on 
pettishly. " You don't think I could, do you?" 

" Sure. Out o' sight. I bet you make a hit. Now 
you want to go, I know you do. I knew it when I came 
home. That's why I asked you." 

" What is the play, did you say? " 

" ' Under the Gaslight.' " 

" What part would they want me to take? " 



i;2 SISTER CARRIE 

" Oh, one of the heroines — I don't know." 

" What sort of a play is it? " 

" Well," said Drouet, whose memory for such things 
was not the best, " it's about a girl who gets kidnapped 
by a couple of crooks — a man and a woman that live in 
the slums. She had some money or something and they 
wanted to get it. I don't know now how it did go 
exactly." 

" Don't you know what part I would have to take? " 

" No, I don't, to tell the truth." He thought a mo- 
ment. " Yes, I do, too. Laura, that's the thing — you're 
to be Laura." 

" And you can't remember what the part is like? " 

" To save me, Cad, I can't," he answered. " I ought 
to, too; I've seen the play enough. There's a girl in it 
that was stolen when she was an infant — was picked off 
the street or something — and she's the one that's hounded 
by the two old criminals I was telling you about." He 
stopped with a mouthful of pie poised on a fork before 
his face. " She comes very near getting drowned — no, 
that's not it. I'll tell you what I'll do," he concluded 
hopelessly, " I'll get you the book. I can't remember 
now for the life of me." 

" Well, I don't know," said Carrie, when he had con- 
cluded, her interest and desire to shine dramatically strug- 
gling with her timidity for the mastery. " I might go if 
you thought I'd do all right." 

" Of course, you'll do," said Drouet, who, in his efforts 
to enthuse Carrie, had interested himself. " Do you think 
I'd come home here and urge you to do something that I 
didn't think you would make a success of? You can act 
all right. It'll be good for you." 

" When must I go? " said Carrie, reflectively. 

" The first rehearsal is Friday night. I'll get the part 
for you to-night." 



SISTER CARRIE 1 73 

" All right," said Carrie resignedly, " I'll do it, but if I 
make a failure now it's your fault." 

" You won't fail," assured Drouet. " Just act as you 
do around here. Be natural. You're all right. I've 
often thought you'd make a corking good actress." 

" Did you really? " asked Carrie. 

" That's right," said the drummer. 

He little knew as he went out of the door that night 
what a secret flame he had kindled in the bosom of the 
girl he left behind. Carrie was possessed of that sympa- 
thetic, impressionable nature which, ever in the most 
developed form, has been the glory of the drama. She 
was created with that passivity of soul which is always the 
mirror of the active world. She possessed an innate taste 
for imitation and no small ability. Even without practice, 
she could sometimes restore dramatic situations she had 
witnessed by re-creating, before her mirror, the expres- 
sions of the various faces taking part in the scene. She 
loved to modulate her voice after the conventional man- 
ner of the distressed heroine, and repeat such pathetic 
fragments as appealed most to her sympathies. Of late, 
seeing the airy grace of the ingenue in several well-con- 
structed plays, she had been moved to secretly imitate it, 
and many were the little movements and expressions of 
the body in which she indulged from time to time in the 
privacy of her chamber. On several occasions, when 
Drouet had caught her admiring herself, as he imagined, 
in the mirror, she was doing nothing more than recalling 
some little grace of the mouth or the eyes which she had 
witnessed in another. Under his airy accusation she mis- 
took this for vanity and accepted the blame with a faint 
sense of error, though, as a matter of fact, it was nothing 
more than the first subtle outcroppings of an artistic na- 
ture, endeavouring to re-create the perfect likeness of 
some phase of beauty which appealed to her. In such 



174 SISTER CARRIE 

feeble tendencies, be it known, such outworking of desire 
to reproduce life, lies the basis of all dramatic art. 

Now, when Carrie heard Drouet's laudatory opinion of 
her dramatic ability, her body tingled with satisfaction. 
Like the flame which welds the loosened particles into a 
solid mass, his words united those floating wisps of feel- 
ing which she had felt, but never believed, concerning her 
possible ability, and made them into a gaudy shred of 
hope. Like all human beings, she had a touch of vanity. 
She felt that she could do things if she only had a chance. 
How often had she looked at the well-dressed actresses 
on the stage and wondered how she would look, how de- 
lightful she would feel if only she were in their place. 
The glamour, the tense situation, the fine clothes, the ap- 
plause, these had lured her until she felt that s'he, too, 
could act — that she, too, could compel acknowledgment 
of power. Now she was told that she really could — that 
little things she had done about the house had made even 
him feel her power. It was a delightful sensation while 
it lasted. 

When Drouet was gone, she sat down in her rocking- 
chair by the window to think about it. As usual, imagi- 
nation exaggerated the possibilities for her. It was as if 
he had put fifty cents in her hand and she had exercised 
the thoughts of a thousand dollars. She saw herself in a 
score of pathetic situations in which she assumed a tremu- 
lous voice and suffering manner. Her mind delighted it- 
self with scenes of luxury and refinement, situations in 
which she was the cynosure of all eyes, the arbiter of all 
fates. As she rocked to and fro she felt the tensity of woe 
in abandonment, the magnificence of wrath after decep- 
tion, the languour of sorrow after defeat. Thoughts of all 
the charming women she had seen in plays — every fancy, 
every illusion which she had concerning the stage — now 
came back as a returning tide after the ebb. She built 



SISTER CARRIE 1 75 

up feelings and a determination which the occasion did 
not warrant. 

Drouet dropped in at the lodge when he went down 
town, and swashed around with a great air, as Quincel 
met him. 

" Where is that young lady you were going to get for 
us? " asked the latter. 

" I've got her," said Drouet. 

" Have you? " said Quincel, rather surprised by his 
promptness; " that's good. What's her address? " and he 
pulled out his note-book in order to be able to send her 
part to her. 

" You want to send her her part? " asked the drummer. 

" Yes." 

" Well, I'll take it. I'm going right by her house in 
the morning." 

" What did you say her address was? We only want it 
in case we have any information to send her." 

" Twenty-nine Ogden Place." 

" And her name? " 

" Carrie Madenda," said the drummer, firing at 
random. The lodge members knew him to be 
single. 

" That sounds like somebody that can act, doesn't it? " 
said Quincel. 

" Yes, it does." 

He took the part home to Carrie and handed it to her 
with the manner of one who does a favour. 

" He says that's the best part'. Do you think you can 
doit?" : 

" I don't know until I look it over. You know I'm 
afraid, now that I've said I would." 

" Oh, go on. What have you got to be afraid of? It's 
a cheap company. The rest of them aren't as good as 
you are." 



176 SISTER CARRIE 

" Well, I'll see," said Carrie, pleased to have the part, 
for all her misgivings. 

He sidled around, dressing and fidgeting before he ar- 
ranged to make his next remark. 

" They were getting ready to print the programmes,"' 
he said, " and I gave them the name of Carrie Madenda. 
Was that all right? " 

" Yes, I guess so," said his companion, looking up at 
him. She was thinking it was slightly strange. 

" If you didn't make a hit, you know," he went on. 

" Oh, yes," she answered, rather pleased now with his 
caution. It was clever for Drouet. 

" I didn't want to introduce you as my wife, because 
you'd feel worse then if you didn't go. They all know 
me so well. But you'll go all right. Anyhow, you'll 
probably never meet any of them again." 

" Oh, I don't care," said Carrie desperately. She was 
determined now to have a try at the fascinating game. 

Drouet breathed a sigh of relief. He had been afraid 
that he was about to precipitate another conversation 
upon the marriage question. 

The part of Laura, as Carrie found out when she be- 
gan to examine it, was one of suffering and tears. As 
delineated by Mr. Daly, it was true to the most sacred 
traditions of melodrama as he found it when he began his 
career. The sorrowful demeanour, the tremolo music, 
the long, explanatory, cumulative addresses, all were 
there. 

" Poor fellow," read Carrie, consulting the text and 
drawing her voice out pathetically. " Martin, be sure 
and give him a glass of wine before he goes." 

She was surprised at the briefness of the entire part, 
not knowing that she must be on the stage while others 
were talking, and not only be there, but also keep herself 
in harmony with the dramatic movement of the scenes. 



SISTER CARRIE 177 

" I think I can do that, though," she concluded. 

When Drouet came the next night, she was very much 
satisfied with her day's study. 

" Well, how goes it, Caddie? " he said. 

" All right," she laughed. " I think I have it memo- 
rised nearly." 

" That's good," he said. " Let's hear some of it." 

" Oh, I don't know whether I can get up and say it off 
here," she said bashfully. 

" Well, I don't know why you shouldn't. It'll be easier 
here than it will there." 

" I don't know about that," she answered. 

Eventually she took off the ball-room episode with 
considerable feeling, forgetting, as she got deeper in the 
scene, all about Drouet, and letting herself rise to a fine 
state of feeling. 

"Good," said Drouet; "fine; out o' sight! You're all 
right, Caddie, I tell you." 

He was really moved by her excellent representation 
and the general appearance of the pathetic little figure as 
it swayed and finally fainted to the floor. He had 
bounded up to catch her, and now held her laughing in 
his arms. 

" Ain't you afraid you'll hurt yourself? " he asked. 

" Not a bit." 

" Well, you're a wonder. Say, I never knew you could 
do anything like that." 

" I never did, either," said Carrie merrily, her face 
flushed with delight. 

" Well, you can bet that you're all right," said Drouet. 
" You can take mv word for that. You won't fail." 



CHAPTER XVII 

A GLIMPSE THROUGH THE GATEWAY: HOPE LIGHTENS 
THE EYE 

The, to Carrie, very important theatrical performance 
was to take place at the Avery on conditions which 
were to make it more noteworthy than was at first an- 
ticipated. The little dramatic student had written to 
Hurstwood the very morning her part was brought her 
that she was going to take part in a play. 

" I really am," she wrote, feeling that he might take it 
as a jest; " I have my part now, honest, truly." 

Hurstwood smiled in an indulgent way as he read this. 

" I wonder what it is going to be? I must see that." 

He answered at once, making a pleasant reference to 
her ability. " I haven't the slightest doubt you will make 
a success. You must come to the park to-morrow morn- 
ing and tell me all about it." 

Carrie gladly complied, and revealed all the details of 
the undertaking as she understood it. 

" Well," he said, " that's fine. I'm glad to hear it. 
Of course, you will do well, you're so clever." 

He had truly never seen so much spirit in the girl be- 
fore. Her tendency to discover a touch of sadness had 
for the nonce disappeared. As she spoke her eyes were 
bright, her cheeks red. She radiated much of the pleasure 
which her undertakings gave her. For all her misgivings 
— and they were as plentiful as the moments of the day — 
she was. still happy. She could not repress her delight in 



SISTER CARRIE 1 79 

doing this little thing which, to an ordinary observer, had 
no importance at all. 

Hurstwood was charmed by the development of the fact 
that the girl had capabilities. There is nothing so inspir- 
ing in life as the sight of a legitimate ambition, no matter 
how incipient. It gives colour, force, and beauty to the 
possessor. 

Carrie was now lightened by a touch of this divine af- 
flatus. She drew to herself commendation from her two 
admirers which she had not earned. Their affection for 
her naturally heightened their perception of what she was 
trying to do and their approval of what she did. Her in- 
experience conserved her own exuberant fancy, which 
ran riot with every straw of opportunity, making of it a 
golden divining rod whereby the treasure of life was to 
be discovered. 

" Let's see," said Hurstwood, " I ought to know some 
of the boys in the lodge. I'm an Elk myself." 

" Oh, you mustn't let him know I told you." 

" That's so," said the manager. 

" I'd like for you to be there, if you want to come, but 
I don't see how you can unless he asks you." 

" I'll be there," said Hurstwood affectionately. " I can 
fix it so he won't know you told me. You leave it to 
me. 

This interest of the manager was a large thing in itself 
for the performance, for his standing among the Elks was 
something worth talking about. Already he was think- 
ing of a box with some friends, and flowers for Carrie. 
He would make it a dress-suit affair and give the little 
girl a chance. 

Within a day or two, Drouet dropped into the Adams 
Street resort, and he was at once spied by Hurstwood. It 
was at five in the afternoon and the place was crowded 
with merchants, actors, managers, politicians, a goodly 



180 SISTER CARRIE 

company of rotund, rosy figures, silk-hatted, starchy- 
bosomed, beringed and bescarfpinned to the queen's 
taste. John L. Sullivan, the pugilist, was at one end of 
the glittering bar, surrounded by a company of loudly 
dressed sports, who were holding a most animated con- 
versation. Drouet came across the floor with a festive 
stride, a new pair of tan shoes squeaking audibly at his 
progress. 

" Well, sir," said Hurstwood, " I was wondering what 
had become of you. I thought you had gone out of town 
again." 

Drouet laughed. 

" If you don't report more regularly we'll have to cut 
you off the list." 

"Couldn't help it," said the drummer, " I've been 
busy." 

They strolled over toward the bar amid the noisy, shift- 
ing company of notables. The dressy manager was 
shaken by the hand three times in as many minutes. 

" I hear your lodge is going to give a performance," 
observed Hurstwood, in the most offhand manner. 

"Yes, who told you?" 

" No one," said Hurstwood. " They just sent me a 
couple of tickets, which I can have for two dollars. Is it 
going to be any good? " 

" I don't know," replied the drummer. " They've been 
trying to get me to get some woman to take a part." 

" I wasn't intending to go," said the manager easily. 
" I'll subscribe, of course. How are things over there? " 

" All right. They're going to fit things up out of the 
proceeds." 

" Well," said the manager, " I hope they make a suc- 
cess of it. Have another? " 

He did not intend to say any more. Now, if he should 
appear on the scene with a few friends, he could say that 



SISTER CARRIE 181 

he had been urged to come along. Drouet had a desire to 
wipe out the possibility of confusion. 

" I think the girl is going to take a part in it," he said 
abruptly, after thinking it over. 

" You don't say so! How did that happen? " 

" Well, they were short and wanted me to find them 
some one. I told Carrie, and she seems to want to 
try." 

" Good for her," said the manager. " It'll be a real 
nice affair. Do her good, too. Has she ever had any 
experience? " 

" Not a bit." 

" Oh, well, it isn't anything very serious." 

" She's clever, though," said Drouet, casting off any 
imputation against Carrie's ability. " She picks up her 
part quick enough." 

" You don't say so ! " said the manager. 

"Yes, sir; she surprised me the other night. By 
George, if she didn't." 

" We must give her a nice little send-off," said the 
manager. " I'll look after the flowers." 

Drouet smiled at his good-nature. 

" After the show you must come with me and we'll 
have a little supper." 

" I think she'll do all right," said Drouet. 

" I want to see her. She's got to do all right. We'll 
make her," and the manager gave one of his quick, steely 
half-smiles, which was a compound of good-nature and 
shrewdness. 

Carrie, meanwhile, attended the first rehearsal. At this 
performance Mr. Quincel presided, aided by Mr. Millice, 
a young man who had some qualifications of past ex- 
perience, which were not exactly understood by any one. 
He was so experienced and so business-like, however, that 
he came very near being rude — failing to remember, as 



1 82 SISTER CARRIE 

he did, that the individuals he was trying to instruct were 
volunteer players and not salaried underlings. 

" Now, Miss Madenda," he said, addressing Carrie, 
who stood in one part uncertain as to what move to make, 
" you don't want to stand like that. Put expression in 
your face. Remember, you are troubled over the intru- 
sion of the stranger. Walk so," and he struck out 
across the Avery stage in a most drooping manner. 

Carrie did not exactly fancy the suggestion, but the 
novelty of the situation, the presence of strangers, all more 
or less nervous, and the desire to do anything rather than 
make a failure, made her timid. She walked in imitation 
of her mentor as requested, inwardly feeling that there 
was something strangely lacking. 

" Now, Mrs. Morgan," said the director to one young 
married woman who was to take the part of Pearl, " you 
sit here. Now, Mr. Bamberger, you stand here, so. Now, 
what is it you say? " 

" Explain," said Mr. Bamberger feebly. He had the 
part of Ray, Laura's lover, the society individual who 
was to waver in his thoughts of marrying her, upon 
finding that she was a waif and a nobody by birth. 

" How is that — what does your text say? " 

" Explain," repeated Mr. Bamberger, looking in- 
tently at his part. 

" Yes, but it also says," the director remarked, " that 
you are to look shocked. Now, say it again, and see if 
you can't look shocked." 

" Explain ! " demanded Mr. Bamberger vigorously. 

" No, no, that won't do! Say it this way — explain." 

" Explain," said Mr. Bamberger, giving a modified 
imitation. 

" That's better. Now go on." 

" One night," resumed Mrs. Morgan, whose lines 
came next, " father and mother were going to the opera. 



SISTER CARRIE 1 83 

When they were crossing Broadway, the usual crowd of 
children accosted them for alms " 

" Hold on," said the director, rushing forward, his arm 
extended. " Put more feeling into what you are saying." 

Mrs. Morgan looked at him as if she feared a personal 
assault. Her eye lightened with resentment. 

" Remember, Mrs. Morgan," he added, ignoring the 
gleam, but modifying his manner, " that you're detailing 
a pathetic story. You are now supposed to be telling 
something that is a grief to you. It requires feeling, re- 
pression, thus : ' The usual crowd of children accosted 
them for alms.' " 

"All right," said Mrs. Morgan. 

" Now, go on." 

" As mother felt in her pocket for some change, her 
fingers touched a cold and trembling hand which had 
clutched her purse." 

" Very good," interrupted the director, nodding his 
head significantly. 

" A pickpocket ! Well ! " exclaimed Mr. Bam- 
berger, speaking the lines that here fell to him. 

" No, no, Mr. Bamberger," said the director, approach- 
ing, " not that way. ' A pickpocket — well? ' so. That's 
the idea." 

" Don't you think," said Carrie weakly, noticing that it 
had not been proved yet whether the members of the com- 
pany knew their lines, let alone the details of expression, 
" that it would be better if we just went through our lines 
once to see if we know them? We might pick up some 
points." 

" A very good idea, Miss Madenda," said Mr. Quincel, 
who sat at the side of the stage, looking serenely on 
and volunteering opinions which the director did not 
heed. 

" All right," said the latter, somewhat abashed, " it 



1 84 SISTER CARRIE 

might be well to do it." Then brightening, with a show 
of authority, " Suppose we run right through, putting in 
as much expression as we can." 

" Good," said Mr. Quincel. 

" This hand," resumed Mrs. Morgan, glancing up at 
Mr. Bamberger and down at her book, as the lines pro- 
ceeded, " my mother grasped in her own, and so tight 
that a small, feeble voice uttered an exclamation of pain. 
Mother looked down, and there beside her was a little 
ragged girl." 

" Very good," observed the director, now hopelessly 
idle. 

" The thief ! " exclaimed Mr. Bamberger. 

" Louder," put in the director, finding it almost impos- 
sible to keep his hands off. 

" The thief ! " roared poor Bamberger. 

" Yes, but a thief hardly six years old, with a face like 
an angel's. ' Stop,' said my mother. ' What are you 
doing ? ' 

" ' Trying to steal,' said the child. 

" ' Don't you know that it is wicked to do so ? ' asked 
my father. 

" • No,' said the girl, ' but it is dreadful to be 
hungry/ 

" ' Who told you to steal ? ' asked my mother. 

" ' She — there,' said the child, pointing to a squalid 
woman in a doorway opposite, who fled suddenly down 
the street. ' That is old Judas,' said the girl." 

Mrs. Morgan read this rather flatly, and the director was 
in despair. He fidgeted around, and then went over to 
Mr. Quincel. 

" What do you think of them? " he asked. 

" Oh, I guess we'll be able to whip them into shape," 
said the latter, with an air of strength under difficulties. 

" I don't know," said the director. " That fellow Bam- 



SISTER CARRIE 185 

berger strikes me as being a pretty poor shift for a 
lover." 

" He's all we've got," said Quincel, rolling up his eyes. 
" Harrison went back on me at the last minute. Who 
else can we get? " 

" I don't know," said the director. " I'm afraid he'll 
never pick up." 

At this moment Bamberger was exclaiming, " Pearl, 
you are joking with me." 

Look at that now," said the director, whispering be- 
hind his hand. " My Lord! what can you do with a man 
who drawls out a sentence like that? " 

" Do the best you can," said Quincel consolingly. 

The rendition ran on in this wise until it came to where 
Carrie, as Laura, comes into the room to explain to Ray, 
who, after hearing Pearl's statement about her birth, had 
written the letter repudiating her, which, however, he did 
not deliver. Bamberger was just concluding the words 
of Ray, " I must go before she returns. Her step ! Too 
late," and was cramming the letter in his pocket, when 
She began sweetly with : 

" Ray ! " 

" Miss — Miss Courtland," Bamberger faltered 
weakly. 

Carrie looked at him a moment and forgot all about the 
company present. She began to feel the part, and sum- 
moned an indifferent smile to her lips, turning as the 
lines directed and going to a window, as if he were not 
present. She did it with a grace which was fascinating 
to look upon. 

"Who is that woman?" asked the director, watching 
Carrie in her little scene with Bamberger. 

" Miss Madenda," said Quincel. 

" I know her name," said the director, " but what does 
she do? " 



1 86 SISTER CARRIE 

" I don't know,'' said Quincel. " She's a friend of one 
of our members." 

" Well, she's got more gumption than any one I've seen 
here so far — seems to take an interest in what she's 
doing." 

" Pretty, too, isn't she? " said Quincel. 

The director strolled away without answering. 

In the second scene, where she was supposed to face the 
company in the ball-room, she did even better, winning 
the smile of the director, who volunteered, because of her 
fascination for him, to come over and speak with her. 

" Were you ever on the stage? " he asked insinuatingly. 

" No," said Carrie. 

" You do so well, I thought you might have had some 
experience." 

Carrie only smiled consciously. 

He walked away to listen to Bamberger, who was 
feebly spouting some ardent line. 

Mrs. Morgan saw the drift of things and gleamed at 
Carrie with envious and snapping black eyes. 

" She's some cheap professional," she gave herself the 
satisfaction of thinking, and scorned and hated her ac- 
cordingly. 

The rehearsal ended for one day, and Carrie went home 
feeling that she had acquitted herself satisfactorily. The 
words of the director were ringing in her ears, and she 
longed for an opportunity to tell Hurstwood. She wanted 
him to know just how well she was doing. Drouet, too, 
was an object for her confidences. She could hardly wait 
until he should ask her, and yet she did not have the vanity 
to bring it up. The drummer, however, had another line 
of thought to-night, and her little experience did not ap- 
peal to him as important. He let the conversation drop, 
save for what she chose to recite without solicitation, and 
Carrie was not good at that. He took it for granted that 



SISTER CARRIE 1 87 

she was doing very well and he was relieved of further 
worry. Consequently he threw Carrie into repression, 
which was irritating. She felt his indifference keenly and 
longed to see Hurstwood. It was as if he were now the 
only friend she had on earth. The next morning Drouet 
was interested again, but the damage had been done. 

She got a pretty letter from the manager, saying that 
by the time she got it he would be waiting for her in the 
park. When she came, he shone upon her as the morn- 
ing sun. 

" Well, my dear," he asked, " how did you come out? " 

" Well enough," she said, still somewhat reduced after 
Drouet. 

" Now, tell me just what you did. Was it 
pleasant?" 

Carrie related the incidents of the rehearsal, warming 
up as she proceeded. 

" Well, that's delightful," said Hurstwood. " I'm so 
glad. I must get over there to see you. When is the 
next rehearsal? " 

" Tuesday," said Carrie, " but they don't allow visitors." 

" I imagine I could get in," said Hurstwood signifi- 
cantly. 

She was completely restored and delighted by his con- 
sideration, but she made him promise not to come around. 

" Now, you must do your best to please me," he said 
encouragingly. " Just remember that I want you to suc- 
ceed. We will make the performance worth while. You 
do that now." 

" I'll try," said Carrie, brimming with affection and 
enthusiasm. 

" That's the girl," said Hurstwood fondly. " Now, re- 
member," shaking an affectionate finger at her, " your 
best." 

" I will," she answered, looking back. 



1 88 SISTER CARRIE 

The whole earth was brimming sunshine that morning. 
She tripped along, the clear sky pouring liquid blue into 
her soul. Oh, blessed are the children of endeavour in 
this, that they try and are hopeful. And blessed also are 
they who, knowing, smile and approve. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

JUST OVER THE BORDER : A HAIL AND FAREWELL 

By the evening of the 16th the subtle hand of Hurst- 
wood had made itself apparent. He had given the word 
among his friends — and they were many and influential — 
that here was something which they ought to attend, 
and, as a consequence, the sale of tickets by Mr. Quincel, 
acting for the lodge, had been large. Small four-line 
notes had appeared in all of the daily newspapers. These 
he had arranged for by the aid of one of his newspaper 
friends on the " Times," Mr. Harry McGarren, the man- 
aging editor. 

" Say, Harry," Hurstwood said to him one evening, 
as the latter stood at the bar drinking before wending his 
belated way homeward, " you can help the boys out, I 
guess." 

" What is it ? " said McGarren, pleased to be consulted 
by the opulent manager. 

" The Custer Lodge is getting up a little entertain- 
ment for their own good, and they'd like a little newspaper 
notice. You know what I mean — a squib or two saying 
that it's going to take place." 

" Certainly," said McGarren, " I can fix that for you, 
George." 

At the same time Hurstwood kept himself wholly in 
the background. The members of Custer Lodge could 
scarcely understand why their little affair was taking so 
well. Mr. Harry Quincel was looked upon as quite a 
star for this sort of work. 



190 



SISTER CARRIE 



By the time the 16th had arrived Hurstwood's friends 
had rallied like Romans to a senator's call. A well- 
dressed, good-natured, flatteringly-inclined audience 
was assured from the moment he thought of assisting 
Carrie. 

That little student had mastered her part to her own 
satisfaction, much as she trembled for her fate when she 
should once face the gathered throng, behind the glare 
of the footlights. She tried to console herself with the 
thought that a score of other persons, men and women, 
were equally tremulous concerning the outcome of their 
efforts, but she could not disassociate the general danger 
from her own individual liability. She feared that she 
would forget her lines, that she might be unable to master 
the feeling which she now felt concerning her own move- 
ments in the play. At times she wished that she had never 
gone into the affair; at others, she trembled lest she 
should be paralysed with fear and stand white and gasp- 
ing, not knowing what to say and spoiling the entire 
performance. 

In the matter of the company, Mr. Bamberger had 
disappeared. That hopeless example had fallen under 
the lance of the director's criticism. Mrs. Morgan was still 
present, but envious and determined, if for nothing more 
than spite, to do as well as Carrie at least. A loafing 
professional had been called in to assume the role of Ray, 
and, while he was a poor stick of his kind, he was not 
troubled by any of those qualms which attack the spirit 
of those who have never faced an audience. He swashed 
about (cautioned though he was to maintain silence con- 
cerning his past theatrical relationships) in such a self- 
confident manner that he was like to convince every one of 
his identity by mere matter of circumstantial evidence. 

" It is so easy," he said to Mrs. Morgan, in the usual af- 
fected stage voice. " An audience would be the last 



SISTER CARRIE 



191 



thing to trouble me. It's the spirit of the part, you know, 
that is difficult." 

Carrie disliked his appearance, but she was too much 
the actress not to swallow his qualities with complaisance, 
seeing that she must suffer his fictitious love for the 
evening. 

At six she was ready to go. Theatrical paraphernalia 
had been provided over and above her care. She had 
practised her make-up in the morning, had rehearsed 
and arranged her material for the evening by one o'clock, 
and had gone home to have a final look at her part, wait- 
ing for the evening to come. 

On this occasion the lodge sent a carriage. Drouet 
rode with her as far as the door, and then went about the 
neighbouring stores, looking for some good cigars. The 
little actress marched nervously into her dressing-room 
and began that painfully anticipated matter of make-up 
which was to transform her, a simple maiden, to Laura, 
The Belle of Society. 

The flare of the gas-jets, the open trunks, suggestive of 
travel and display, the scattered contents of the make-up 
box — rouge, pearl powder, whiting, burnt cork, India 
ink, pencils for the eyelids, wigs, scissors, looking-glasses, 
drapery — in short, all the nameless paraphernalia of dis- 
guise, have a remarkable atmosphere of their own. Since 
her arrival in the city many things had influenced her, 
but always in a far-removed manner. This new atmos- 
phere was more friendly. It was wholly unlike the great 
brilliant mansions which waved her coldly away, per- 
mitting her only awe and distant wonder. This took her 
by the hand kindly, as one who says, " My dear, come in." 
It opened for her as if for its own. She had wondered at 
the greatness of the names upon the bill-boards, the 
marvel of the long notices in the papers, the beauty of the 
dresses upon the stage, the atmosphere of carriages, 



192 SISTER CARRIE 

flowers, refinement. Here was no illusion. Here was an 
open door to see all of that. She had come upon it as one 
who stumbles upon a secret passage, and, behold, she was 
in the chamber of diamonds and delight ! 

As she dressed with a flutter, in her little stage room, 
hearing the voices outside, seeing Mr. Quincel hurrying 
here and there, noting Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Hoagland 
at their nervous work of preparation, seeing all the twenty 
members of the cast moving about and worrying over 
what the result would be, she could not help thinking 
what a delight this would be if it would endure ; how per- 
fect a state, if she could only do well now, and then some 
time get a place as a real actress. The thought had 
taken a mighty hold upon her. It hummed in her ears as 
the melody of an old song. 

Outside in the little lobby another scene was being 
enacted. Without the interest of Hurstwood, the little 
hall would probably have been comfortably filled, for the 
members of the lodge were moderately interested in its 
welfare. Hurstwood's word, however, had gone the 
rounds. It was to be a full-dress affair. The four boxes 
had been taken. Dr. Norman McNeill Hale and his wife 
were to occupy one. This was quite a card. C. R. 
Walker, dry-goods merchant and possessor of at least 
two hundred thousand dollars, had taken another ; a well- 
known coal merchant had been induced to take the third, 
and Hurstwood and his friends the fourth. Among the 
latter was Drouet. The people who were now pouring 
here were not celebrities, nor even local notabilities, in a 
general sense. They were the lights of a certain circle — 
the circle of small fortunes and secret order distinctions. 
These gentlemen Elks knew the standing of one another. 
They had regard for the ability which could amass a small 
fortune, own a nice home, keep a barouche or carriage, 
perhaps, wear fine clothes, and maintain a good mer- 



SISTER CARRIE 



193 



cantile position. Naturally, Hurstwood, who was a little 
above the order of mind which accepted this standard as 
perfect, who had shrewdness and much assumption of 
dignity, who held an imposing and authoritative position, 
and commanded friendship by intuitive tact in handling 
people, was quite a figure. He was more generally known 
than most others in the same circle, and was looked upon 
as some one whose reserve covered a mine of influence 
and solid financial prosperity. 

To-night he was in his element. He came with several 
friends directly from Rector's in a carriage. In the lobby 
he met Drouet, who was just returning from a trip for 
more cigars. All five now joined in an animated con- 
versation concerning the company present and the gen- 
eral drift of lodge affairs. 

" Who's here ? " said Hurstwood, passing into the 
theatre proper, where the lights were turned up and a 
company of gentlemen were laughing and talking in the 
open space back of the seats. 

" Why, how do you do, Mr. Hurstwood ? " came from 
the first individual recognised. 

" Glad to see you," said the latter, grasping his hand 
lightly. 

" Looks quite an affair, doesn't it ? " 

" Yes, indeed," said the manager. 

" Custer seems to have the backing of its members," 
observed the friend. 

" So it should," said the knowing manager. " I'm glad 
to see it." 

" Well, George," said another rotund citizen, whose 
avoirdupois made necessary an almost alarming display 
of starched shirt bosom, " how goes it with you ? " 

" Excellent," said the manager. 

" What brings you over here ? You're not a member of 
Custer." 

13 



1 94 SISTER CARRIE 

" Good-nature," returned the manager. " Like to see 
the boys, you know." 

"Wife here?" 

" She couldn't come to-night. She's not well." 

" Sorry to hear it — nothing serious, I hope." 

" No, just feeling a little ill." 

" I remember Mrs. Hurstwood when she was travelling 
once with you over to St. Joe — " and here the newcomer 
launched off in a trivial recollection, which was terminated 
by the arrival of more friends. 

" Why, George, how are you ? " said another genial 
West Side politician and lodge member. " My, but I'm 
glad to see you again; how are things, anyhow? " 

" Very well ; I see you got that nomination for alder- 
man." 

" Yes, we whipped them out over there without much 
trouble." 

" What do you suppose Hennessy will do now ? " 

" Oh, he'll go back to his brick business. He has a 
brick-yard, you know." 

" I didn't know that/" said the manager. " Felt pretty 
sore, I suppose, over his defeat." 

" Perhaps," said the other, winking shrewdly. 

Some of the more favoured of his friends whom he had 
invited began to roll up in carriages now. They came 
shuffling in with a great show of finery and much evident 
feeling of content and importance. 

" Here we are," said Hurstwood, turning to one from a 
group with wlom he was talking. 

" That's right," returned the newcomer, a gentleman of 
about forty-five. 

" And say," he whispered, jovially, pulling Hurst- 
wood over by the shoulder so that he might whisper 
in his ear, " if this isn't a good show, I'll punch your 
head." 



SISTER CARRIE 195 

" You ought to pay for seeing your old friends. Bother 
the show ! " 

To another who inquired, " Is it something really 
good ? " the manager replied : 

" I don't know. I don't suppose so." Then, lifting his 
hand graciously, " For the lodge." 

" Lots of boys out, eh ? " 

" Yes, look up Shanahan. He was just asking for you 
a moment ago." 

It was thus that the little theatre resounded to a babble 
of successful voices, the creak of fine clothes, the common- 
place of good-nature, and all largely because of this man's 
bidding. Look at him any time within the half hour be- 
fore the curtain was up, he was a member of an eminent 
group — a rounded company of five or more whose stout 
figures, large white bosoms, and shining pins bespoke 
the character of their success. The gentlemen who 
brought their wives called him out to shake hands. Seats 
clicked, ushers bowed while he looked blandly on. He 
was evidently a light among them, reflecting in his per- 
sonality the ambitions of those who greeted him. He 
was acknowledged, fawned upon, in a way lionised. 
Through it all one could see the standing of the man. 
It was greatness in a way, small as it was. 



CHAPTER XIX 

AN HOUR IN ELFLAND: A CLAMOUR HALF HEARD 

At last the curtain was ready to go up. All the details 
of the make-up had been completed, and the company set- 
tled down as the leader of the small, hired orchestra 
tapped significantly upon his music rack with his baton 
and began the soft curtain-raising strain. Hurstwood 
ceased talking, and went with Drouet and his friend Sagar 
Morrison around to the box. 

" Now, we'll see how the little girl does," he said to 
Drouet, in a tone which no one else could hear. 

On the stage, six of the characters had already ap- 
peared in the opening parlour scene. Drouet and Hurst- 
wood saw at a glance that Carrie was not among them, 
and went on talking in a whisper. Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. 
Hoagland, and the actor who had taken Bamberger's part 
were representing the principal roles in this scene. The 
professional, whose name was Patton, had little to recom- 
mend him outside of his assurance, but this at the present 
moment was most palpably needed. Mrs. Morgan, as 
Pearl, was stiff with fright. Mrs. Hoagland was husky 
in the throat. The whole company was so weak-kneed 
that the lines were merely spoken, and nothing more. 
It took all the hope and uncritical good-nature of the 
audience to keep from manifesting pity by that unrest 
which is the agony of failure. 

Hurstwood was perfectly indifferent. He took it for 
granted that it would be worthless. All he cared for was 



SISTER CARRIE 1 97 

to have it endurable enough to allow for pretension and 
congratulation afterward. 

After the first rush of fright, however, the players got 
over the danger of collapse. They rambled weakly for- 
ward, losing nearly all the expression which was in- 
tended, and making the thing dull in the extreme, when 
Carrie came in. 

One glance at her, and both Hurstwood and Drouet 
saw plainly that she also was weak-kneed. She came 
faintly across the stage, saying : 

"And you, sir; we have been looking for you since 
eight o'clock," but with so little colour and in such a 
feeble voice that it was positively painful. 

" She's frightened," whispered Drouet to Hurstwood. 

The manager made no answer. 

She had a line presently which was supposed to be 
funny. 

" Well, that's as much as to say that I'm a sort of 
life pill." 

It came out so flat, however, that it was a deathly thing. 
Drouet fidgeted. Hurstwood moved his toe the least 
bit. 

There was another place in which Laura was to rise 
and, with a sense of impending disaster, say, sadly : 

" I wish you hadn't said that, Pearl. You know the old 
proverb, ' Call a maid by a married name.' " 

The lack of feeling in the thing was ridiculous. Carrie 
did not get it at all. She seemed to be talking in her sleep. 
It looked as if she were certain to be a wretched failure. 
She was more hopeless than Mrs. Morgan, who had re- 
covered somewhat, and was now saying her lines clearly 
at least. Drouet looked away from the stage at the audi- 
ence. The latter held out silently, hoping for a general 
change, of course. Hurstwood fixed his eye on Carrie, as 
if to hypnotise her into doing better. He was pouring de- 



198 SISTER CARRIE 

termination of his own in her direction. He felt sorry 
for her. 

In a few more minutes it fell to her to read the letter 
sent in by the strange villain. The audience had been 
slightly diverted by a conversation between the pro- 
fessional actor and a character' called Snorky, imper- 
sonated by a short little American, who really developed 
some humour as a half-crazed, one-armed soldier, turned 
messenger for a living. He bawled his lines out with such 
defiance that, while they really did not partake of the 
humour intended, they were funny. Now he was off, how- 
ever, and it was back to pathos, with Carrie as the chief 
figure. She did not recover. She wandered through the 
whole scene between herself and the intruding villain, 
straining the patience of the audience, and finally exiting, 
much to their relief. 

" She's too nervous," said Drouet, feeling in the mild- 
ness of the remark that he was lying for once. 

" Better go back and say a word to her." 

Drouet was glad to do anything for relief. He fairly 
hustled around to the side entrance, and was let in by the 
friendly doorkeeper. Carrie was standing in the wings, 
weakly waiting her next cue, all the snap and nerve gone 
out of her. 

" Say, Cad," he said, looking at her, " you mustn't be 
nervous. Wake up. Those guys out there don't amount 
to anything. What are you afraid of ? " 

" I don't know," said Carrie. " I just don't seem to be 
able to do it." 

She was grateful for the drummer's presence, though. 
She had found the company so nervous that her own 
strength had gone. 

" Come on," said Drouet. " Brace up. What are you 
afraid of ? Go on out there now, and do the trick. What 
do you care ? " 



SISTER CARRIE 1 99 

Carrie revived a little under the drummer's electrical, 
nervous condition. 

" Did I do so very bad ? " 

" Not a bit. All you need is a little more ginger. Do it 
as you showed me. Get that toss of your head you had 
the other night." 

Carrie remembered her triumph in the room. She tried 
to think she could do it. 

" What's next?" he said, looking at her part, which 
she had been studying. 

" Why, the scene between Ray and me when I refuse 
him." 

" Well, now you do that lively," said the drummer. 
" Put in snap, that's the thing. Act as if you didn't 
care." 

" Your turn next, Miss Madenda," said the prompter. 

" Oh, dear," said Carrie. 

" Well, you're a chump for being afraid," said Drouet. 
" Come on now, brace up. I'll watch you from right 
here." 

" Will you ? " said Carrie. 

" Yes, now go on. Don't be afraid." 

The prompter signalled her. 

She started out, weak as ever, but suddenly her nerve 
partially returned. She thought of Drouet looking. 

" Ray," she said, gently, using a tone of voice much 
more calm than when she had last appeared. It was the 
scene which had pleased the director at the rehearsal. 

" She's easier," thought Hurstwood to himself. 

She did not do the part as she had at rehearsal, but she 
was better. The audience was at least not irritated. The 
improvement of the work of the entire company took 
away direct observation from her. They were making 
very fair progress, and now it looked as if the play would 
be passable, in the less trying parts at least. 



200 SISTER CARRIE 

Carrie came off warm and nervous. 

" Well," she said, looking at him, " was it any better? " 

" Well, I should say so. That's the way. Put life into 
it. You did that about a thousand per cent, better than 
you did the other scene. Now go on and fire up. You 
can do it. Knock 'em." 

" Was it really better ? " 

" Better, I should say so. What comes next ? " 

" That ballroom scene." 

" Well, you can do that all right," he said. 

" I don't know," answered Carrie. 

" Why, woman," he exclaimed, " you did it for me ! 
Now you go out there and do it. It'll be fun for you. 
Just do as you did in the room. If you'll reel it off that 
way, I'll bet you make a hit. Now, what'll you bet? 
You do it." 

The drummer usually allowed his ardent good-nature 
to get the better of his speech. He really did think that 
Carrie had acted this particular scene very well, and he 
wanted her to repeat it in public. His enthusiasm was due 
to the mere spirit of the occasion. 

When the time came, he buoyed Carrie up most ef- 
fectually. He began to make her feel as if she had done 
very well. The old melancholy of desire began to come 
back as he talked at her, and by the time the situation 
rolled around she was running high in feeling. 

" I think I can do this." 

" Sure you can. Now you go ahead and see." 

On the stage, Mrs. Van Dam was making her cruel 
insinuation against Laura. 

Carrie listened, and caught the infection of something — 
she did not know what. Her nostrils sniffed thinly. 

" It means," the professional actor began, speaking 
as Ray, " that society is a terrible avenger of insult. 
Have you ever heard of the Siberian wolves? When 



SISTER CARRIE 201 

one of the pack falls through weakness, the others de- 
vour him. It is not an elegant comparison, but there 
is something wolfish in society. Laura has mocked it 
with a pretence, and society, which is made up of pre- 
tence, will bitterly resent the mockery." 

At the sound of her stage name Carrie started. She 
began to feel the bitterness of the situation. The feelings 
of the outcast descended upon her. She hung at the 
wing's edge, wrapt in her own mounting thoughts. She 
hardly heard anything more, save her own rumbling 
blood. 

" Come, girls," said Mrs. Van Dam, solemnly, " let 
us look after our things. They are no longer safe when 
such an accomplished thief enters." 

" Cue," said the prompter, close to her side, but she did 
not hear. Already she was moving forward with a steady 
grace, born of inspiration. She dawned upon the audi- 
ence, handsome and proud, shifting, with the necessity of 
the situation, to a cold, white, helpless object, as the social 
pack moved away from her scornfully. 

Hurstwood blinked his eyes and caught the infection. 
The radiating waves of feeling and sincerity were already 
breaking against the farthest walls of the chamber. The 
magic of passion, which will yet dissolve the world, was 
here at work. 

There was a drawing, too, of attention, a riveting of 
feeling, heretofore wandering. 

" Ray ! Ray ! Why do you not come back to her ? " 
was the cry of Pearl. 

Every eye was fixed on Carrie, still proud and scornful. 
They moved as she moved. Their eyes were with her 
eyes. 

Mrs. Morgan, as Pearl, approached her. 

" Let us go home," she said. 

" No," answered Carrie, her voice assuming for the 



202 SISTER CARRIE 

first time a penetrating quality which it had never 
known. " Stay with him ! " 

She pointed an almost accusing hand toward her lover. 
Then, with a pathos which struck home because of its 
utter simplicity, " He shall not suffer long." 

Hurstwood realised that he was seeing something ex- 
traordinarily good. It was heightened for him by the 
applause of the audience as the curtain descended and the 
fact that it was Carrie. He thought now that she was 
beautiful. She had done something which was above his 
sphere. He felt a keen delight in realising that she was 
his. 

" Fine," he said, and then, seized by a sudden impulse, 
arose and went about to the stage door. 

When he came in upon Carrie she was still with Drouet. 
His feelings for her were most exuberant. He was almost 
swept away by the strength and feeling she exhibited. 
His desire was to pour forth his praise with the un- 
bounded feelings of a lover, but here was Drouet, whose 
affection was also rapidly reviving. The latter was more 
fascinated, if anything, than Hurstwood. At least, in the 
nature of things, it took a more ruddy form. 

" Well, well," said Drouet, " you did out of sight. 
That was simply great. I knew you could do it. Oh, 
but you're a little daisy ! " 

Carrie's eyes flamed with the light of achievement. 

"Dial do all right?" 

" Did you? Well, I guess. Didn't you hear the ap- 
plause ? " 

There was some faint sound of clapping yet. 

" I thought I got it something like — I felt it." 

Just then Hurstwood came in. Instinctively he felt 
the change in Drouet. He saw that the drummer was 
near to Carrie, and jealousy leaped alight in his bosom. 
In a flash of thought, he reproached himself for having 



SISTER CARRIE 203 

sent him back. Also, he hated him as an intruder. He 
could scarcely pull himself down to the level where he 
would have to congratulate Carrie as a friend. Neverthe- 
less, the man mastered himself, and it was a triumph. He 
almost jerked the old subtle light to his eyes. 

" I thought," he said, looking at Carrie, " I would 
come around and tell you how well you did, Mrs. Drouet. 
It was delightful." 

Carrie took the cue, and replied: 

" Oh, thank you." 

" I was just telling her," put in Drouet, now delighted 
with his possession, " that I thought she did fine." 

" Indeed you did," said Hurstwood, turning upon Car- 
rie eyes in which she read more than the words. 

Carrie laughed luxuriantly. 

" If you do as well in the rest of the play, you will make 
us all think you are a born actress." 

Carrie smiled again. She felt the acuteness of Hurst- 
wood's position, and wished deeply that she could be 
alone with him, but she did not understand the change in 
Drouet. Hurstwood found that he could not talk, re- 
pressed as he was, and grudging Drouet every moment of 
his presence, he bowed himself out with the elegance of 
a Faust. Outside he set his teeth with envy. 

" Damn it ! " he said, " is he always going to be in the 
way ? " He was moody when he got back to the box, and 
could not talk for thinking of his wretched situation. 

As the curtain for the next act arose, Drouet came 
back. He was very much enlivened in temper and in- 
clined to whisper, but Hurstwood pretended interest. 
He fixed his eyes on the stage, although Carrie was not 
there, a short bit of melodramatic comedy preceding her 
entrance. He did not see what was going on, however. 
He was thinking his own thoughts, and they were 
wretched. 



204 SISTER CARRIE 

The progress of the play did not improve matters for 
him. Carrie, from now on, was easily the centre of inter- 
est. The audience, which had been inclined to feel that 
nothing could be good after the first gloomy impression, 
now went to the other extreme and saw power where it 
was not. The general feeling reacted on Carrie. She 
presented her part with some felicity, though nothing 
like the intensity which had aroused the feeling at the, 
end of the long first act. 

Both Hurstwood and Drouet viewed her pretty figure 
with rising feelings. The fact that such ability should 
reveal itself in her, that they should see it set forth under 
such effective circumstances, framed almost in massy 
gold and shone upon by the appropriate lights of senti- 
ment and personality, heightened her charm for them. 
She was more than the old Carrie to Drouet. He 
longed to be at home with her until he could tell her. 
He awaited impatiently the end, when they should go 
home alone. 

Hurstwood, on the contrary, saw in the strength of her 
new attractiveness his miserable predicament. He could 
have cursed the man beside him. By the Lord, he could 
not even applaud feelingly as he would. For once he must 
simulate when it left a taste in his mouth. 

It was in the last act that Carrie's fascination for her 
lovers assumed its most effective character. 

Hurstwood listened to its progress, wondering when 
Carrie would come on. He had not long to wait. The 
author had used the artifice of sending all the merry com- 
pany for a drive, and now Carrie came in alone. It was 
the first time that Hurstwood had had a chance to see her 
facing the audience quite alone, for nowhere else had she 
been without a foil of some sort. He suddenly felt, as she 
entered, that her old strength — the power that had grasped 
him at the end of the first act — had come back. She 



SISTER CARRIE 205 

seemed to be gaining feeling, now that the play was draw- 
ing to a close and the opportunity for great action was 
passing. 

" Poor Pearl," she said, speaking with natural pathos. 
" It is a sad thing to want for happiness, but it is a terrible 
thing to see another groping about blindly for it, when it 
is almost within the grasp." 

She was gazing now sadly out upon the open sea, her 
arm resting listlessly upon the polished door-post. 

Hurstwood began to feel a deep sympathy for her and 
for himself. He could almost feel that she was talking to 
him. He was, by a combination of feelings and entangle- 
ments, almost deluded by that quality of voice and manner 
which, like a pathetic strain of music, seems ever a per- 
sonal and intimate thing. Pathos has this quality, that 
it seems ever addressed to one alone. 

" And yet, she can be very happy with him," went on 
the little actress. " Her sunny temper, her joyous face 
will brighten any home." / 

She turned slowly toward the audience without seeing. 
There was so much simplicity in her movements that she 
seemed wholly alone. Then she found a seat by a table, 
and turned over some books, devoting a thought to 
them. 

" With no longings for what I may not have," she 
breathed in conclusion — and it was almost a sigh — " my 
existence hidden from all save two in the wide world, and 
making my joy out of the joy of that innocent girl who 
will soon be his wife." 

Hurstwood was sorry when a character, known as 
Peach Blossom, interrupted her. He stirred irritably, 
for he wished her to go on. He was charmed by the pale 
face, the lissome figure, draped in pearl grey, with a coiled 
string of pears at the throat. Carrie had the air of one who 
was weary and in need of protection, and, under the fas- 



206 SISTER CARRIE 

cinating make-believe of the moment, he rose in feeling 
until he was ready in spirit to go to her and ease her out 
of her misery by adding to his own delight. 

In a moment Carrie was alone again, and was saying, 
with animation : 

" I must return to the city, no matter what dangers 
may lurk here. I must go, secretly if I can; openly, 
if I must." 

There was a sound of horses' hoofs outside, and then 
Ray's voice saying: 

" No, I shall not ride again. Put him up." 

He entered, and then began a scene which had as much 
to do with the creation of the tragedy of affection in 
Hurstwood as anything in his peculiar and involved 
career. For Carrie had resolved to make something 
of this scene, and, now that the cue had come, it 
began to take a feeling hold upon her. Both Hurst- 
wood and Drouet noted the rising sentiment as she 
proceeded. 

" I thought you had gone with Pearl," she said to 
her lover. 

" I did go part of the way, but I left the party a mile 
down the road." 

" You and Pearl had no disagreement? " 

" No — yes ; that is, we always have. Our social 
barometers always stand at ' cloudy ' and over- 
cast.'" 

" And whose fault is that ? " she said, easily. 

• " Not mine," he answered, pettishly. " I know I do all 
I can — I say all I can — but she " 

This was rather awkwardly put by Patton, but Carrie 
redeemed it with a grace which was inspiring. 

" But she is your wife," she said, fixing her whole at- 
tention upon the stilled actor, and softening the quality of 
her voice until it was again low and musical. " Ray, my 



SISTER CARRIE 207 

friend, courtship is the text from which the whole sermon 
of married life takes its theme. Do not let yours be dis- 
contented and unhappy." 

She put her two little hands together and pressed them 
appealingly. 

Hurstwood gazed with slightly parted lips. Drouet 
was fidgeting with satisfaction. 

" To be my wife, yes," went on the actor in a manner 
which was weak by comparison, but which could not 
now spoil the tender atmosphere which Carrie had created 
and maintained. She did not seem to feel that he was 
wretched. She would have done nearly as well with a 
block of wood. The accessories she needed were within 
her own imagination. The acting of others could not 
affect them. 

" And you repent already ? " she said, slowly. 

" I lost you," he said, seizing her little hand, " and I 
was at the mercy of any flirt who chose to give me an in- 
viting look. It was your fault — you know it was — why 
did you leave me? " 

Carrie turned slowly away, and seemed to be mastering 
some impulse in silence. Then she turned back. 

" Ray," she said, " the greatest happiness I have ever 
felt has been the thought that all your affection was for- 
ever bestowed upon a virtuous woman, your equal in fam- 
ily, fortune, and accomplishments. What a revelation do 
you make to me now ! What is it makes you continually 
war with your happiness ? " 

The last question was asked so simply that it came to 
the audience and the lover as a personal thing. 

At last it came to the part where the lover exclaimed, 
" Be to me as you used to be." 

Carrie answered, with affecting sweetness, " I can- 
not be that to you, but I can speak in the spirit of the 
Laura who is dead to you forever." 



208 SISTER CARRIE 

" Be it as you will," said Patton. 

Hurstwood leaned forward. The whole audience was 
silent and intent. 

" Let the woman you look upon be wise or vain," 
said Carrie, her eyes bent sadly upon the lover, who had 
sunk into a seat, " beautiful or homely, rich or poor, 
she has but one thing she can really give or refuse — her 
heart." 

Drouet felt a scratch in his throat. 

" Her beauty, her wit, her accomplishments, she may 
sell to you ; but her love is the treasure without money and 
without price." 

The manager suffered this as a personal appeal. It came 
to him as if they were alone, and he could hardly restrain 
the tears for sorrow over the hopeless, pathetic, and yet 
dainty and appealing woman whom he loved. Drouet 
also was beside himself. He was resolving that he would 
be to Carrie what he had never been before. He would 
marry her, by George ! She was worth it. 

- She asks only in return," said Carrie, scarcely hear- 
ing the small, scheduled reply of her lover, and putting 
herself even more in harmony with the plaintive melody 
now issuing from 'the orchestra, " that when you look 
upon her your eyes shall speak devotion ; that when you 
address her your voice shall be gentle, loving, and kind ; 
that you shall not despise her because she cannot under- 
stand all at once your vigorous thoughts and ambitious 
designs ; for, when misfortune and evil have defeated 
your greatest purposes, her love remains to console you. 
You look to the trees," she continued, while Hurstwood 
restrained his feelings only by the grimmest repression, 
" for strength and grandeur ; do not despise the flowers 
because their fragrance is all they have to give. Remem- 
ber," she concluded, tenderly, " love is all a woman has to 
give," and she laid a strange, sweet accent on the all, 



SISTER CARRIE 



209 



" but it is the only thing which God permits us to carry 
beyond the grave." 

The two men were in the most harrowed state of af- 
fection. They scarcely heard the few remaining words 
with which the scene concluded. They only saw their 
idol, moving about with appealing grace, continuing a 
power which to them was a revelation. 

Hurstwood resolved a thousand things, Drouet as well. 
They joined equally in the burst of applause which called 
Carrie out. Drouet pounded his hands until they ached. 
Then he jumped up again and started out. As he went, 
Carrie came out, and, seeing an immense basket of flowers 
being hurried down the aisle toward her, she waited. 
They were Hurstwood's. She looked toward the man- 
ager's box for a moment, caught his eye, and smiled. He 
could have leaped out of the box to enfold her. He forgot 
the need of circumspectness which his married state en- 
forced. He almost forgot that he had with him in the box 
those who knew him. By the Lord, he would have that 
lovely girl if it took his all. He would act at once. This 
should be the end of Drouet, and don't you forget it. He 
would not wait another day. The drummer should not 
have her. 

He was so excited that he could not stay in the box. 
He went into the lobby, and then into the street, thinking. 
Drouet did not return. In a few minutes the last act 
was over, and he was crazy to have Carrie alone. He 
cursed the luck that could keep him smiling, bowing, 
shamming, when he wanted to tell her that he loved her, 
when he wanted to whisper to her alone. He groaned 
as he saw that his hopes were futile. He must even take 
her to supper, shamming. He finally went about and 
asked how she was getting along. The actors were all 
dressing, talking, hurrying about. Drouet was palav- 
ering himself with the looseness of excitement and pas- 
14 



2IO SISTER CARRIE 

sion. The manager mastered himself only by a great 
effort. 

" We are going to supper, of course," he said, with a 
voice that was a mockery of his heart. 

" Oh, yes," said Carrie, smiling. 

The little actress was in fine feather. She was realis- 
ing now what it was to be petted. For once she was the 
admired, the sought-for. The independence of success 
now made its first faint showing. With the tables turned, 
she was looking down, rather than up, to her lover. She 
did not fully realise that this was so, but there was some- 
thing in condescension coming from her which was in- 
finitely sweet. When she was ready they climbed into the 
waiting coach and drove down town ; once, only, did she 
find an opportunity to express her feeling, and that was 
when the manager preceded Drouet in the coach and sat 
beside her. Before Drouet was fully in she had squeezed 
Hurstwood's hand in a gentle, impulsive manner. The 
manager was beside himself with affection. He could 
have sold his soul to be with her alone. " Ah," he 
thought, " the agony of it." 

Drouet hung on, thinking he was all in all. The dinner 
was spoiled by his enthusiasm. Hurstwood went home 
feeling as if he should die if he did not find affectionate re- 
lief. He whispered " to-morrow " passionately to Carrie, 
and she understood. He walked away from the drummer 
and his prize at parting feeling as if he could slay him and 
not regret. Carrie also felt the misery of it. 

■' Good-night," he said, simulating an easy friendliness. 

" Good-night," said the little actress, tenderly. 

" The fool ! " he said, now hating Drouet. " The idiot ! 
I'll do him yet, and that quick ! We'll see to-morrow." 

" Well, if you aren't a wonder," Drouet was saying, 
complacently, squeezing Carrie's arm. " You are the 
dandiest little girl on earth." 



CHAPTER XX 

THE LURE OF THE SPIRIT : THE FLESH IN PURSUIT 

Passion in a man of Hurstwood's nature takes a vig- 
orous form. It is no musing, dreamy thing. There is 
none of the tendency to sing outside of my lady's window 
— to languish and repine in the face of difficulties. In the 
night he was long getting to sleep because of too much 
thinking, and in the morning he was early awake, seizing 
with alacrity upon the same dear subject and pursuing it 
with vigour. He was out of sorts physically, as well as 
disordered mentally, for did he not delight in a new man- 
ner in his Carrie, and was not Drouet in the way ? Never 
was man more harassed than he by the thoughts of his 
love being held by the elated, flush-mannered drummer. 
He would have given anything, it seemed to him, to have 
the complication ended — to have Carrie acquiesce to an 
arrangement which would dispose of Drouet effectually 
and forever. 

What to do. He dressed thinking. He moved about 
in the same chamber with his wife, unmindful of her 
presence. 

At breakfast he found himself without an appetite. 
The meat to which he helped himself remained on his 
plate untouched. His coffee grew cold, while he scanned 
the paper indifferently. Here and there he read a little 
thing, but remembered nothing. Jessica had not yet 
come down. His wife sat at one end of the table revolv- 
ing thoughts of her own in silence. A new servant had 



212 SISTER CARRIE 

been recently installed and had forgot the napkins. On 
this account the silence was irritably broken by a reproof. 

" I've told you about this before, Maggie," said Mrs. 
Hurstwood. " I'm not going to tell you again." 

Hurstwood took a glance at his wife. She was frown- 
ing. Just now her manner irritated him excessively. 
Her next remark was addressed to him. 

" Have you made up your mind, George, when you will 
take your vacation ? " 

It was customary for them to discuss the regular sum- 
mer outing at this season of the year. 

" Not yet," he said, " I'm very busy just now." 

" Well, you'll want to make up your mind pretty soon, 
won't you, if we're going? " she returned. 

" I guess we have a few days yet," he said. 

" Hmff," she returned. " Don't wait until the season's 
over." 

She stirred in aggravation as she said this. 

" There you go again," he observed. " One would think 
I never did anything, the way you begin." 

" Well, I want to know about it," she reiterated. 

" You've got a few days yet," he insisted. " You'll not 
want to start before the races are over." 

He was irritated to think that this should come up when 
he wished to have his thoughts for other purposes. 

" Well, we may. Jessica doesn't want to stay until the 
end of the races." 

" What did you want with a season ticket, then ? " 

" Uh ! " she said, using the sound as an exclamation of 
disgust, " I'll not argue with you," and therewith arose 
to leave the table. 

" Say," he said, rising, putting a note of, determination 
in his voice which caused her to delay her departure. 
" what's the matter with you of late ? Can't I talk with you 
any more ? " 



SISTER CARRIE 



213 



" Certainly, you can talk with me," she replied, laying 
emphasis on the word. 

" Well, you wouldn't think so by the way you act. 
Now, you want to know when I'll be ready — not for a 
month yet. Maybe not then." 

" We'll go without you." 

" You will, eh ? " he sneered. 

" Yes, we will." 

He was astonished at the woman's determination, but 
it only irritated him the more. 

" Well, we'll see about that. It seems to me you're try- 
ing to run things with a pretty high hand of late. You 
talk as though you settled my affairs for me. Well, you 
don't. You don't regulate anything that's connected with 
me. If you want to go, go, but you won't hurry me by any 
such talk as that." 

He was thoroughly aroused now. His dark eyes 
snapped, and he crunched his paper as he laid it down. 
Mrs. Hurstwood said nothing more. He was just fin- 
ishing when she turned on her heel and went out into the 
hall and upstairs. He paused for a moment, as if hesi- 
tating, then sat down and drank a little coffee, and there- 
after arose and went for his hat and gloves upon the main 
floor. 

His wife had really not anticipated a row of this char- 
acter. She had come down to the breakfast table feeling 
a little out of sorts with herself and revolving a scheme 
which she had in her mind. Jessica had called her at- 
tion to the fact that the races were not what they were sup- 
posed to be. The social opportunities were not what they 
had thought they would be this year. The beautiful girl 
found going every day a dull thing. There was an earlier 
exodus this year of people who were anybody to the water- 
ing places and Europe. In her own circle of acquaint- 
ances several young men in whom she was interested had 



214 SISTER CARRIE 

gone to Waukesha. She began to feel that she would like 
to go too, and her mother agreed with her. 

Accordingly, Mrs. Hurstwood decided to broach the 
subject. She was thinking this over when she came 
down to the table, but for some reason the atmosphere 
was wrong. She was not sure, after it was all over, just 
how the trouble had begun. She was determined now, 
however, that her husband was a brute, and that, under no 
circumstances, would she let this go by unsettled. She 
would have more lady-like treatment or she would 
know why. 

For his part, the manager was loaded with the care of 
this new argument until he reached his office and started 
from there to meet Carrie. Then the other complications 
of love, desire, and opposition possessed him. His 
thoughts fled on before him upon eagles' wings. He 
could hardly wait until he should meet Carrie face to face. 
What was the night, after all, without her — what the day ? 
She must and should be his. 

For her part, Carrie had experienced a world of fancy 
and feeling since she had left him, the night before. She 
had listened to Drouet's enthusiastic maunderings with 
much regard for that part which concerned herself, with 
very little for that which affected his own gain. She kept 
him at such lengths as she could, because her thoughts 
were with her own triumph. She felt Hurstwood's pas- 
sion as a delightful background to her own achievement, 
and she wondered what he would have to say. She was 
sorry for him, too, with that peculiar sorrow which finds 
something complimentary to itself in the misery of an- 
other. She was now experiencing the first shades of feel- 
ing of that subtle change which removes one out of the 
ranks of the suppliants into the lines of the dispensers of 
charity. She was, all in all, exceedingly happy. 

On the morrow, however, there was nothing in the 



SISTER CARRIE 21 5 

papers concerning the event, and, in view of the flow of 
common, everyday things about, it now lost a shade of the 
glow of the previous evening. Drouet himself was not 
talking so much of as for her. He felt instinctively that, 
for some reason or other, he needed reconstruction in 
her regard. 

" I think," he said, as he spruced around their chambers 
the next morning, preparatory to going down town, 
" that I'll straighten out that little deal of mine this month 
and then we'll get married. I was talking with Mosher 
about that yesterday." 

'* No, you won't," said Carrie, who was coming to feel 
a certain faint power to jest with the drummer. 

" Yes, I will," he exclaimed, more feelingly than usual, 
adding, with the tone of one who pleads, " Don't you be- 
lieve what I've told you ? " 

Carrie laughed a little. 

" Of cour&e I do," she answered. 

Drouet's assurance now misgave him. Shallow as was 
his mental observation, there was that in the things which 
had happened which made his little power of analysis use- 
less. Carrie was still with him, but not helpless and 
pleading. There was a lilt in her voice which was new. 
She did not study him with eyes expressive of dependence. 
The drummer was feeling the shadow of something which 
was coming. It coloured his feelings and made him de- 
velop those little attentions and say those little words 
which were mere forefendations against danger. 

Shortly afterward he departed, and Carrie prepared for 
her meeting with Hurstwood. She hurried at her toilet, 
which was soon made, and hastened down the stairs. 
At the corner she passed Drouet, but they did not see 
each other. 

The drummer had forgotten some bills which he wished 
to turn into his house. He hastened up the stairs and 



2i6 SISTER CARRIE 

burst into the room, but found only the chambermaid, 
who was cleaning up. 

" Hello," he exclaimed, half to himself, " has Carrie 
gone ? " 

"Your wife? Yes, she went out just a few minutes 
ago." 

" That's strange," thought Drouet. " She didn't say a 
word to me. I wonder where she went ? " 

He hastened about, rummaging in his valise for what he 
wanted, and finally pocketing it. Then he turned his 
attention to his fair neighbour, who was good-looking 
and kindly disposed towards him. 

" What are you up to ? " he said, smiling. 

" Just cleaning," she replied, stopping and winding a 
dusting towel about her hand. 

"Tired of it?" 

" Not so very." 

" Let me show you something," he said, affably, coming 
over and taking out of his pocket a little lithographed 
card which had been issued by a wholesale tobacco com- 
pany. On this was printed a picture of a pretty girl, hold- 
ing a striped parasol, the colours of which could be 
changed by means of a revolving disk in the back, which 
showed red, yellow, green, and blue through little inter- 
stices made in the ground occupied by the umbrella 
top. 

" Isn't that clever ? " he said, handing it to her and 
showing her how it worked. " You never saw anything 
like that before." 

" Isn't it nice? " she answered. 

" You can have it if you want it," he remarked. 

" That's a pretty ring you have," he said, touching a 
commonplace setting which adorned the hand holding the 
card he had given her. 

"Do you think so?" 



SISTER CARRIE 217 

" That's right," he answered, making use of a pretence 
at examination to secure her finger. " That's fine." 

The ice being thus broken, he launched into further ob- 
servation, pretending to forget that her fingers were still 
retained by his. She soon withdrew them, however, and 
retreated a few feet to rest against the window-sill. 

" I didn't see you for a long time," she said, coquet- 
tishly, repulsing one of his exuberant approaches. " You 
must have been away." 

" I was," said Drouet. 

" Do you travel far ? " 

" Pretty far— yes." 

"Do you like it?" 

" Oh, not very well. You get tired of it after a while." 

" I wish I could travel," said the girl, gazing idly out 
of the window. 

" What has become of your friend, Mr. Hurstwood ? " 
she suddenly asked, bethinking herself of the manager, 
who, from her own observation, seemed to contain prom- 
ising material. 

" He's here in town. What makes you ask about him ? " 

" Oh, nothing, only he hasn't been here since you got 
back." 

" How did you come to know him ? " 

" Didn't I take up his name a dozen times in the last 
month ? " 

11 Get out," said the drummer, lightly. " He hasn't 
called more than half a dozen times since we've been 
here." 

" He hasn't, eh ? " said the girl, smiling. " That's all 
you know about it." 

Drouet took on a slightly more serious tone. He was 
uncertain as to whether she was joking or not. 

" Tease," he said, " what makes you smile that way ? " 

" Oh, nothing." 



218 SISTER CARRIE 

" Have you seen him recently ? " 

" Not since you came back," she laughed. 

"Before?" 

" Certainly." 

"How often?" 

" Why, nearly every day." 

She was a mischievous newsmonger, and was keenly 
wondering what the effect of her words would be. 

" Who did he come to see ? " asked the drummer, in- 
credulously. 

" Mrs. Drouet." 

He looked rather foolish at this answer, and then at- 
tempted to correct himself so as not to appear a dupe. 

" Well," he said, " what of it? " 

" Nothing," replied the girl, her head cocked coquet- 
tishly on one side. 

" He's an old friend," he went on, getting deeper into 
the mire. 

He would have gone on further with his little flirtation, 
but the taste for it was temporarily removed. He was 
quite relieved when the girl's name was called from 
below. 

" I've got to go," she said, moving away from him 
airily. 

" I'll see you later," he said, with a pretence of dis- 
turbance at being interrupted. 

When she was gone, he gave freer play to his feelings. 
His face, never easily controlled by him, expressed all 
the perplexity and disturbance which he felt. Could it be 
that Carrie had received so many visits and yet said noth- 
ing about them? Was Hurstwood lying? What did 
the chambermaid mean by it, anyway? He had thought 
there was something odd about Carrie's manner at the 
time. Why did she look so disturbed when he had asked 
her how many times Hurstwood had called ? By George ! 



SISTER CARRIE 



219 



he remembered now. There was something strange about 
the whole thing. 

He sat down in a rocking-chair to think the better, 
drawing up one leg on his knee and frowning mightily. 
His mind ran on at a great rate. 

And yet Carrie hadn't acted out of the ordinary. It 
couldn't be, by George, that she was deceiving him. 
She hadn't acted that way. Why, even last night she had 
been as friendly toward him as could be, and Hurstwood 
too. Look how they acted ! He could hardly believe 
they would try to deceive him. 

His thoughts burst into words. 

" She did act sort of funny at times. Here she had 
dressed and gone out this morning and never said a 
word." 

He scratched his head and prepared to go down town. 
He was still frowning. As he came into the hall he en- 
countered the girl, who was now looking after another 
chamber. She had on a white dusting cap, beneath which 
her chubby face shone good-naturedly. Drouet almost 
forgot his worry in the fact that she was smiling on him. 
His put his hand familiarly on her shoulder, as if only to 
greet her in passing. 

" Got over being mad ? " she said, still mischievously 
inclined. 

" I'm' not mad," he answered. 

" I thought you were," she said, smiling. 

" Quit your fooling about that," he said, in an offhand 
way. " Were you serious ? " 

" Certainly," she answered. Then, with an air of one 
who did not intentionally mean to create trouble, " He 
came lots of times. I thought you knew." 

The game of deception was up with Drouet. He did 
not try to simulate indifference further. 

" Did he spend the evenings here ? " he asked. 



220 SISTER CARRIE 

" Sometimes. Sometimes they went out." 

" In the evening ? " 

(( Yes. You mustn't look so mad, though." 

" I'm not," he said. " Did any one else see him ? " 

" Of course," said the girl, as if, after all, it were noth- 
ing in particular. 

" How long ago was this ? " 

" Just before you came back." 

The drummer pinched his lip nervously. 

" Don't say anything, will you ? " he asked, giving the 
girl's arm a gentle squeeze. 

" Certainly not," she returned. " I wouldn't worry 
over it." 

" All right," he said, passing on, seriously brooding for 
once, and yet not wholly unconscious of the fact that he 
was making a most excellent impression upon the cham- 
bermaid. 

" I'll see her about that," he said to himself, passionately, 
feeling that he had been unduly wronged. " I'll find out, 
b'George, whether she'll act that way or not." 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE LURE OF THE SPIRIT : THE FLESH IN PURSUIT 

When Carrie came Hurstwood had been waiting many- 
minutes. His blood was warm ; his nerves wrought up. 
He was anxious to see the woman who had stirred him so 
profoundly the night before. 

" Here you are," he said, repressedly, feeling a spring 
in his limbs and an elation which was tragic in itself. 

" Yes," said Carrie. 

They walked on as if bound for some objective point, 
while Hurstwood drank in the radiance of her presence. 
The rustle of her pretty skirt was like music to him. 

" Are you satisfied ? " he asked, thinking of how well 
she did the night before. 

"Are you?" 

He tightened his fingers as he saw the smile she gave 
him. 

" It was wonderful." 

Carrie laughed ecstatically. 

" That was one of the best things I've seen in a long 
time," he added. 

He was dwelling on her attractiveness as he had felt 
it the evening before, and mingling it with the feeling her 
presence inspired now. 

Carrie was dwelling in the atmosphere which this man 
created for her. Already she was enlivened and suffused 
with a glow. She felt his drawing toward her in every 
sound of his voice. 



222 SISTER CARRIE 

" Those were such nice flowers you sent me," she said, 
after a moment or two. " They were beautiful." 

" Glad you liked them," he answered, simply. 

He was thinking all the time that the subject of his de- 
sire was being delayed. He was anxious to turn the talk 
to his own feelings. All was ripe for it. His Carrie was 
beside him. He wanted to plunge in and expostulate with 
her, and yet he found himself fishing for words and feeling 
for a way. 

" You got home all right," he said, gloomily, of a sud- 
den, his tone modifying itself to one of self-commisera- 
tion. 

" Yes," said Carrie, easily. 

He looked at her steadily for a moment, slowing his 
pace and fixing her with his eye. 

She felt the flood of feeling. 

" How about me? " he asked. 

This confused Carrie considerably, for she realised the 
floodgates were open. She didn't know exactly what to 
answer. 

" I don't know," she answered. 

He took his lower lip between his teeth for a moment, 
and then let it go. He stopped by the walk side and kicked 
the grass with his toe. He searched her face with a 
tender, appealing glance. 

" Won't you come away from him ? " he asked, in- 
tensely. 

" I don't know," returned Carrie, still illogically drift- 
ing and finding nothing at which to catch. 

As a matter of fact, she was in a most hopeless quan- 
dary. Here was a man whom she thoroughly liked, who 
exercised an influence over her, sufficient almost to delude 
her into the belief that she was possessed of a lively passion 
for him. She was still the victim of his keen eyes, his 
suave manners, his fine clothes. She looked and saw be- 



SISTER CARRIE 223 

fore her a man who was most gracious and sympathetic, 
who leaned toward her with a feeling that was a delight 
to observe. She could not resist the glow of his tempera- 
ment, the light of his eye. She could hardly keep from 
feeling what he felt. 

And yet she was not without thoughts which were dis- 
turbing. What did he know? What had Drouet told 
him? Was she a wife in his eyes, or what? Would he 
marry her ? Even while he talked, and she softened, and 
her eyes were lighted with a tender glow, she was asking 
herself if Drouet had told him they were not married. 
There was never anything at all convincing about what 
Drouet said. 

And yet she was not grieved at Hurstwood's love. No 
strain of bitterness was in it for her, whatever he knew. 
He was evidently sincere. His passion was real and 
warm. There was power in what he said. What should 
she do? She went on thinking this, answering vaguely, 
languishing affectionately, and altogether drifting, until 
she was on a borderless sea of speculation. 

" Why don't you come away ? " he said, tenderly. " I 
will arrange for you whatever — " 

" Oh, don't," said Carrie. 

" Don't what? " he asked. " What do you mean? " 

There was a look of confusion and pain in her face. She 
was wondering why that miserable thought must be 
brought in. She was struck as by a blade with the mis- 
erable provision which was outside the pale of marriage. 

He himself realised that it was a wretched thing to have 
dragged in. He wanted to weigh the effects of it, and yet 
he could not see. He went beating on, flushed by her 
presence, clearly awakened, intensely enlisted in his plan. 

" Won't you come ? " he said, beginning over and with 
a more reverent feeling. " You know I can't do without 
you — you know it — it can't go on this way — can it ? " 



224 SISTER CARRIE 

" I know," said Carrie. 

" I wouldn't ask if I — I wouldn't argue with you if I 
could help it. Look at me, Carrie. Put yourself in my 
place. You don't want to stay away from me, do you ? " 

She shook her head as if in deep thought. 

" Then why not settle the whole thing, once and for 
all?" 

" I don't know," said Carrie. 

" Don't know ! Ah, Carrie, what makes you say that ? 
Don't torment me. Be serious." 

" I am," said Carrie, softly. 

" You can't be, dearest, and say that. Not when you 
know how I love you. Look at last night." 

His manner as he said this was the most quiet imagi- 
nable. His face and body retained utter composure. Only 
his eyes moved, and they flashed a subtle, dissolving fire. 
In them the whole intensity of the man's nature was dis- 
tilling itself. 

Carrie made no answer. 

" How can you act this way, dearest ? " he inquired, 
after a time. " You love me, don't you ? " 

He turned on her such a storm of feeling that she was 
overwhelmed. For the moment all doubts were cleared 
away. 

" Yes," she answered, frankly and tenderly. 

" Well, then you'll come, won't you — come to-night? " 

Carrie shook her head in spite of her distress. 

" I can't wait any longer," urged Hurstwood. " If 
that is too soon, come Saturday." 

" When will we be married ? " she asked, diffidently, 
forgetting in her difficult situation that she had hoped he 
took her to be Drouet's wife. 

The manager started, hit as he was by a problem 
which was more difficult than hers. He gave no sign of 
the thoughts that flashed like messages to his mind. 



SISTER CARRIE 225 

" Any time you say," he said, with ease, refusing to 
discolour his present delight with this miserable problem. 

" Saturday? " asked Carrie. 

He nodded his head. 

" Well, if you will marry me then," she said, " I'll 
go." 

The manager looked at his lovely prize, so beautiful, so 
winsome, so difficult to be won, and made strange resolu- 
tions. His passion had gotten to that stage now where it 
was no longer coloured with reason. He did not trouble 
over little barriers of this sort in the face of so much love- 
liness. He would accept the situation with all its diffi- 
culties; he would not try to answer the objections which 
cold truth thrust upon him. He would promise any- 
thing, everything, and trust to fortune to disentangle him. 
He would make a try for Paradise, whatever might be the 
result. He would be happy, by the Lord, if it cost all 
honesty of statement, all abandonment of truth. 

(Sarrie looked at him tenderly. She could have laid 
her head upon his shoulder, so delightful did it all seem. 

" Well," she said, " I'll try and get ready then." 

Hurstwood looked into her pretty face, crossed with 
little shadows of wonder and misgiving, and thought he 
had never seen anything more lovely. 

" I'll see you again to-morrow," he said, joyously, " and 
we'll talk over the plans." 

He walked on with her, elated beyond words, so de- 
lightful had been the result. He impressed a long story 
of joy and affection upon her, though there was but here 
and there a word. After a half-hour he began to realise 
that the meeting must come to an end, so exacting is 
the world. 

" To-morrow," he said at parting, a gayety of manner 
adding wonderfully to his brave demeanour. 

" Yes," said Carrie, tripping elatedly away. 
15 



226 ■ SISTER CARRIE 

There had been so much enthusiasm engendered that 
she was believing herself deeply in love. She sighed as 
she thought of her handsome adorer. Yes, she would 
get ready by Saturday. She would go, and they would 
be happy. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE BLAZE OF THE TINDER: FLESH WARS WITH THE FLESH 

The misfortune of the Hurstwood household was due 
to the fact that jealousy, having been born of love, did not 
perish with it. Mrs. Hurstwood retained this in such form 
that subsequent influences could transform it into hate. 
Hurstwood was still worthy, in a physical sense, of the 
affection his wife had once bestowed upon him, but in a 
social sense he fell short. With his regard died his power 
to be attentive to her, and this, to a woman, is much 
greater than outright crime toward another. Our self- 
love dictates our appreciation of the good or evil in 
another. In Mrs. Hurstwood it discoloured the very hue 
of her husband's indifferent nature. She saw design in 
deeds and phrases which sprung only from a faded ap- 
preciation of her presence. 

As a consequence, she was resentful and suspicious. 
The jealousy that prompted her to observe every falling 
away from the little amenities of the married relation on 
his part served to give her notice of the airy grace with 
which he still took the world. She could see from the 
scrupulous care which he exercised in the matter of his 
personal appearance that his interest in life had abated not 
a jot. Every motion, every glance had something in it of 
the pleasure he felt in Carrie, of the zest this new pursuit 
of pleasure lent to his days. Mrs. Hurstwood felt some- 
thing, sniffing change, as animals do danger, afar off. 

This feeling was strengthened by actions of a direct 
and more potent nature on the part of Hurstwood. We 



228 SISTER CARRIE 

have seen with what irritation he shirked those little duties 
which no longer contained any amusement or satisfaction 
for him, and the open snarls with which, more recently, 
he resented her irritating goads. These little rows were 
really precipitated by an atmosphere which was sur- 
charged with dissension. That it would shower, with a 
sky so full of blackening thunder-clouds, would scarcely 
be thought worthy of comment. Thus, after leaving the 
breakfast table this morning, raging inwardly at his blank 
declaration of indifference at her plans, Mrs. Hurstwood 
encountered Jessica in her dressing-room, very leisurely 
arranging her hair. Hurstwood had already left the 
house. 

" I wish you wouldn't be so late coming down to break- 
fast," she said, addressing Jessica, while making for her 
crochet basket. " Now here the things are quite cold, 
and you haven't eaten." 

Her natural composure was sadly ruffled, and Jessica 
was doomed to feel the fag end of the storm. 

" I'm not hungry," she answered. 

" Then why don't you say so, and let^the girl put away 
the things, instead of keeping her waiting all morning? " 

" She doesn't mind," answered Jessica, coolly. 

" Well, I do, if she doesn't," returned the mother, " and, 
anyhow, I don't like you to talk that way to me. You're 
too young to put on such an air with your mother." 

" Oh, mamma, don't row," answered Jessica. " What's 
the matter this morning, anyway ? " 

" Nothing's the matter, and I'm not rowing. You 
mustn't think because I indulge you in some things that 
you can keep everybody waiting. I won't have it." 

" I'm not keeping anybody waiting," returned Jessica, 
sharply, stirred out of a cynical indifference to a sharp 
defence. " I said I wasn't hungry. I don't want any 
breakfast." 



SISTER CARRIE 



229 



" Mind how you address me, missy. I'll not have it. 
Hear me now; I'll not have it! " 

Jessica heard this last while walking out of the room, 
with a toss of her head and a flick of her pretty skirts in- 
dicative of the independence and indifference she felt. 
She did not propose to be quarrelled with. 

Such little arguments were all too frequent, the result 
of a growth of natures which were largely independent 
and selfish. George, Jr., manifested even greater touchi- 
ness and exaggeration in the matter of his individual 
rights, and attempted to make all feel that he was a man 
with a man's privileges — an assumption which, of all 
things, is most groundless and pointless in a youth of 
nineteen. 

Hurstwood was a man of authority and some fine feel- 
ing, and it irritated him excessively to find himself sur- 
rounded more and more by a world upon which he had 
no hold, and of which he had a lessening understanding. 

Now, when such little things, such as the. proposed 
earlier start to Waukesha, came up, they made clear to 
him his position. He was being made to follow, was not 
leading. When, in addition, a sharp temper was mani- 
fested, and to the process of shouldering him out of 
his authority was added a rousing intellectual kick, 
such as a sneer or a cynical laugh, he was unable to keep 
his temper. He flew into hardly repressed passion, and 
wished himself clear of the whole household. It seemed a 
most irritating drag upon all his desires and opportunities. 

For all this, he still retained the semblance of leader- 
ship and control, even though his wife was straining to 
revolt. Her display of temper and open assertion of op- 
position were based upon nothing more than the feeling 
that she could do it. She had no special evidence where- 
with to justify herself — the knowledge of something which 
would give her both authority and excuse. The latter was 



230 SISTER CARRIE 

all that was lacking, however, to give a solid foundation 
to what, in a way, seemed groundless discontent. The 
clear proof of one overt deed was the cold breath needed 
to convert the lowering clouds of suspicion into a rain of 
wrath. 

An inkling of untoward deeds on the part of Hurst- 
wood had come. Doctor Beale, the handsome resident 
physician of the neighbourhood, met Mrs. Hurstwood at 
her own doorstep some days after Hurstwood and Carrie 
had taken the drive west on Washington Boulevard. Dr. 
Beale, coming east on the same drive, had recognised 
Hurstwood, but not before he was quite past him. He 
was not so sure of Carrie — did not know whether it was 
Hurstwood's wife or daughter. 

" You don't speak to your friends when you meet them 
out driving, do you ? " he said, jocosely, to Mrs. Hurst- 
wood. 

" If I see them, I do. Where was I ? " 

" On Washington Boulevard," he answered, expecting 
her eye to light with immediate remembrance. 

She shook her head. 

" Yes, out near Hoyne Avenue. You were with your 
husband." 

" I guess you're mistaken," she answered. Then, re- 
membering her husband's part in the affair, she immedi- 
ately fell a prey to a host of young suspicions, of which, 
however, she gave no sign. 

" I know I saw your husband," he went on. " I wasn't 
so sure about you. Perhaps it was your daughter." 

" Perhaps it was," said Mrs. Hurstwood, knowing full 
well that such was not the case, as Jessica had been her 
companion for weeks. She had recovered herself suf- 
ficiently to wish to know more of the details. 

" Was it in the afternoon ? " she asked, artfully, assum- 
ing an air of acquaintanceship with the matter. 



SISTER CARRIE 



231 



" Yes, about two or three." 

" It must have been Jessica," said Mrs. Hurstwood, not 
wishing to seem to attach any importance to the incident. 

The physician had a thought or two of his own, but 
dismissed the matter as worthy of no further discussion 
on his part at least. 

Mrs. Hurstwood gave this bit of information consider- 
able thought during the next few hours, and even days. 
She took it for granted that the doctor had really seen her 
husband, and that he had been riding, most likely, with 
some other woman, after announcing himself as busy to 
her. As a consequence, she recalled, with rising feeling, 
how often he had refused to go to places with her, to share 
in little visits, or, indeed, take part in any of the social 
amenities which furnished the diversion of her existence. 
He had been seen at the theatre with people whom he 
called Moy's friends ; now he was seen driving, and, most 
likely, would have an excuse for that. Perhaps there 
were others of whom she did not hear, or why should he 
be so busy, so indifferent, of late? In the last six weeks 
he had become strangely irritable — strangely satisfied to 
pick up and go out, whether things were right or wrong 
in the house. Why ? 

She recalled, with more subtle emotions, that he did not 
look at her now with any of the old light of satisfaction or 
approval in his eye. Evidently, along with other things, 
he was taking her to be getting old and uninteresting. 
He saw her wrinkles, perhaps. She was fading, while he 
was still preening himself in his elegance and youth. He 
was still an interested factor in the merry-makings of the 
world, while she — but she did not pursue the thought. 
She only found the whole situation bitter, and hated him 
for it thoroughly. 

Nothing came of this incident at the time, for the truth 
is it did not seem conclusive enough to warrant any dis- 



232 SISTER CARRIE 

cussion. Only the atmosphere of distrust and ill-feeling 
was strengthened, precipitating every now and then 
little sprinklings of irritable conversation, enlivened by 
flashes of wrath. The matter of the Waukesha outing was 
merely a continuation of other things of the same nature. 

The day after Carrie's appearance on the Avery stage, 
Mrs. Hurstwood visited the races with Jessica and a youth 
of her acquaintance, Mr. Bart Taylor, the son of the owner 
of a local house-furnishing establishment. They had 
driven out early, and, as it chanced, encountered several 
friends of Hurstwood, all Elks, and two of whom had at- 
tended the performance the evening before. A thousand 
chances the subject of the performance had never been 
brought up had Jessica not been so engaged by the atten- 
tions of her young companion, who usurped as much time 
as possible. This left Mrs. Hurstwood in the mood to 
extend the perfunctory greetings of some who knew her 
into short conversations, and the short conversations of 
friends into long ones. It was from one who meant but 
to greet her perfunctorily that this interesting intelligence 
came. 

" I see," said this individual, who wore sporting clothes 
of the most attractive pattern, and had a field-glass strung 
over his shoulder, " that you did not get over to our little 
entertainment last evening." 

" No ? " said Mrs. Hurstwood, inquiringly, and wonder- 
ing why he should be using the tone he did in noting the 
fact that she had not been to something she knew nothing 
about. It was on her lips to say, " What was it ? " when he 
added, " I saw your husband." 

Her wonder was at once replaced by the more subtle 
quality of suspicion. 

" Yes," she said, cautiously, " was it pleasant ? He did 
not tell me much about it." 

" Very. Really one of the best private theatricals I 



SISTER CARRIE 233 

ever attended. There was one actress who surprised us 
all." 

" Indeed," said Mrs. Hurstwood. 

" It's too bad you couldn't have been there, really. I 
was sorry to hear you weren't feeling well." 

Feeling well ! Mrs. Hurstwood could have echoed the 
words after him open-mouthed. As it was, she extricated 
herself from her mingled impulse to deny and question, 
and said, almost raspingly : 

" Yes, it is too bad." 
• " Looks like there will be quite a crowd here to-day, 
doesn't it? " the acquaintance observed, drifting off upon 
another topic. 

The manager's wife would have questioned farther, 
but she saw no opportunity. She was for the moment 
wholly at sea, anxious to think for herself, and wondering 
what new deception was this which caused him to give 
out that she was ill when she was not. Another case of her 
company not wanted, and excuses being made. She re- 
solved to find out more. 

"Were you at the performance last evening?" she 
asked of the next of Hurstwood's friends who greeted her, 
as she sat in her box. 

" Yes. You didn't get around." 

" No," she answered, " I was not feeling very well." 

" So your husband told me," he answered. " Well, it 
was really very enjoyable. Turned out much better than I 
expected." 

" Were there many there ? " 

" The house Was full. It was quite an Elk night. I 
saw quite a number of your friends — Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. 
Barnes, Mrs. Collins." 

" Quite a social gathering." 

" Indeed it was. My wife enjoyed it very much." 

Mrs. Hurstwood bit her lip. 



234 SISTER CARRIE 

" So," she thought, " that's the way he does. Tells 
my friends I am sick and cannot come." 

She wondered what could induce him to go alone. 
There was something back of this. She rummaged her 
brain for a reason. 

By evening, when Hurstwood reached home, she had 
brooded herself into a state of sullen desire for explanation 
and revenge. She wanted to know what this peculiar ac- 
tion of his imported. She was certain there was more 
behind it all than what she had heard, and evil curiosity 
mingled well with distrust and the remnants of her wrath 
of the morning. She, impending disaster itself, walked 
about with gathered shadow at the eyes and the rudi- 
mentary muscles of savagery fixing the hard lines of her 
mouth. 

On the other hand, as we may well believe, the man- 
ager came home in the sunniest mood. His conversa- 
tion and agreement with Carrie had raised his spirits until 
he was in the frame of mind of one who sings joyously. 
He was proud of himself, proud of his success, proud of 
Carrie. He could have been genial to all the world, and 
he bore no grudge against his wife. He meant to be pleas- 
ant, to forget her presence, to live in the atmosphere of 
youth and pleasure which had been restored to him. 

So now, the house, to his mind, had a most pleasing and 
comfortable appearance. In the hall he found an evening 
paper, laid there by the maid and forgotten by Mrs. Hurst- 
wood. In the dining-room the table was clean laid with 
linen and napery and shiny with glasses and decorated 
china. Through an open door he saw into the kitchen, 
where the fire was crackling in the stove and the evening 
meal already well under way. Out in the small back yard 
was George, Jr., frolicking with a young dog he had re- 
cently purchased, and in the parlour Jessica was playing at 
the piano, the sounds of a merry waltz filling every nook 



SISTER CARRIE 235 

and corner of the comfortable home. Every one, like him- 
self, seemed to have regained his good spirits, to be in 
sympathy with youth and beauty, to be inclined to joy and 
merry-making. He felt as if he could say a good word all 
around himself, and took a most genial glance at the 
spread table and polished sideboard before going upstairs 
to read his paper in the comfortable arm-chair of the 
sitting-room which looked through the open windows 
into the street. When he entered there, however, he 
found his wife brushing her hair and musing to herself 
the while. 

He came lightly in, thinking to smooth over any feeling 
that might still exist by a kindly word and a ready prom- 
ise, but Mrs. Hurstwood said nothing. He seated himself 
in the large chair, stirred lightly in making himself com- 
fortable, opened his paper, and began to read. In a few 
moments he was smiling merrily over a very comical ac- 
count of a baseball game which had taken place between 
the Chicago and Detroit teams. 

The while he was doing this Mrs. Hurstwood was ob- 
serving him casually through the medium of the mirror 
which was before her. She noticed his pleasant and con- 
tented manner, his airy grace and smiling humour, and it 
merely aggravated her the more. She wondered how he 
could think to carry himself so in her presence after the 
cynicism, indifference, and neglect he had heretofore 
manifested and would continue to manifest so long as she 
would endure it. She thought how she should like to tell 
him — what stress and emphasis she would lend her asser- 
tions, how she should drive over this whole affair until 
satisfaction should be rendered her. Indeed, the shining 
sword of her wrath was but weakly suspended by a thread 
of thought. 

In the meanwhile Hurstwood encountered a humor- 
ous item concerning a stranger who had arrived in the 



236 SISTER CARRIE 

city and became entangled with a bunco-steerer. It 
amused him immensely, and at last he stirred and chuckled 
to himself. He wished that he might enlist his wife's at- 
tention and read it to her. 

" Ha, ha," he exclaimed softly, as if to himself, " that's 
funny." 

Mrs. Hurstwood kept on arranging her hair, not so 
much as deigning a glance. 

He stirred again and went on to another subject. At 
last he felt as if his good-humour must find some outlet. 
Julia was probably still out of humour over that affair of 
this morning, but that could easily be straightened. As a 
matter of fact, she was in the wrong, but he didn't care. 
She could go to Waukesha right away if she wanted to. 
The sooner the better. He would tell her that as soon as 
he got a chance, and the whole thing would blow over. 

" Did you notice," he said, at last, breaking forth con- 
cerning another item which he had found, " that they have 
entered suit to compel the Illinois Central to get off the 
lake front, Julia? " he asked. 

She could scarcely force herself to answer, but man- 
aged to say " No," sharply. 

Hurstwood pricked up his ears. There was a note in 
her voice which vibrated keenly. 

" It would be a good thing if they did," he went on, 
half to himself, half to her, though he felt that something 
was amiss in that quarter. He withdrew his attention to 
his paper very circumspectly, listening mentally for the 
little sounds which should show him what was on 
foot. 

As a matter of fact, no man as clever as Hurstwood — 
as observant and sensitive to atmospheres of many sorts, 
particularly upon his own plane of thought — would have 
made the mistake which he did in regard to his wife, 
wrought up as she was, had he not been occupied men- 



SISTER CARRIE 



237 



tally with a very different train of thought. Had not the 
influence of Carrie's regard for him, the elation which her 
promise aroused in him, lasted over, he would not 
have seen the house in so pleasant a mood. It was not 
extraordinarily bright and merry this evening. He was 
merely very much mistaken, and would have been much 
more fitted to cope with it had he come home in his nor- 
mal state. 

After he had studied his paper a few moments longer, 
he felt that he ought to modify matters in some way or 
other. Evidently his wife was not going to patch up peace 
at a word. So he said : 

" Where did George get the dog he has there in the 
yard?" 

" I don't know," she snapped. 

He put his paper down on his knees and gazed idly out 
of the window. He did not propose to lose his temper, 
but merely to be persistent and agreeable, and by a few 
questions bring around a mild understanding of some 
sort. 

" Why do you feel so bad about that affair of this morn- 
ing ? " he said, at last. " We needn't quarrel about that. 
You know you can go to Waukesha if you want to." 

" So you can stay here and trifle around with some one 
else ? " she exclaimed, turning to him a determined coun- 
tenance upon which was drawn a sharp and wrathful 
sneer. 

He stopped as if slapped in the face. In an instant his 
persuasive, conciliatory manner fled. He was on the de- 
fensive at a wink and puzzled for a word to reply. 

"What do you mean?" he said at last, straightening 
himself and gazing at the cold, determined figure before 
him, who paid no attention, but went on arranging herself 
before the mirror. 

" You know what I mean," she said, finally, as if there 



238 SISTER CARRIE 

were a world of information which she held in reserve — 
which she did not need to tell. 

" Well, I don't," he said, stubbornly, yet nervous and 
alert for what should come next. The finality of the 
woman's manner took away his feeling of superiority in 
battle. 

She made no answer. 

" Hmph ! " he murmured, with a movement of his head 
to one side. It was the weakest thing he had ever done. 
It was totally unassured. 

Mrs. Hurstwood noticed the lack of colour in it. She 
turned upon him, animal-like, able to strike an effectual 
second blow. 

" I want the Waukesha money to-morrow morning," 
she said. 

He looked at her in amazement. Never before had he 
seen such a cold, steely determination in her eye — such a 
cruel look of indifference. She seemed a thorough master 
of her mood — thoroughly confident and determined to 
wrest all control from him. He felt that all his resources 
could not defend him. He must attack. 

"What do you mean?" he said, jumping up. " You 
want ! I'd like to know what's got into you to-night." 

" Nothing's got into me," she said, flaming. " I want 
that money. You can do your swaggering afterwards." 

" Swaggering, eh ! What ! You'll get nothing from 
me. What do you mean by your insinuations, anyhow ? " 

" Where were you last night ? " she answered. The 
words were hot as they came. " Who were you driving 
with on Washington Boulevard ? Who were you with at 
the theatre when George saw you ? Do you think I'm a 
fool to be duped by you? Do you think I'll sit at home 
here and take your ' too busys ' and ' can't come,' while 
you parade around and make out that I'm unable to come ? 
I want you to know that lordly airs have come to an end 



SISTER CARRIE 239 

so far as I am concerned. You can't dictate to me nor 
my children. I'm through with you entirely." 

" It's a lie," he said, driven to a corner and knowing no 
other excuse. 

" Lie, eh ! " she said, fiercely, but with returning re- 
serve ; " you may call it a lie if you want to, but I know." 

" It's a lie, I tell you," he said, in a low, sharp voice. 
" You've been searching around for some cheap accusa- 
tion for months, and now you think you have it. You 
think you'll spring something and get the upper hand. 
Well, I tell you, you can't. As long as I'm in this house 
I'm master of it, and you or any one else won't dictate to 
me — do you hear ? " 

He crept toward her with a light in his eye that was 
ominous. Something in the woman's cool, cynical, up- 
per-handish manner, as if she were already master, caused 
him to feel for the moment as if he could strangle her. 

She gazed at him — a pythoness in humour. 

" I'm not dictating to you," she returned ; " I'm tell- 
ing you what I want." 

The answer was so cool, so rich in bravado, that some- 
how it took the wind out of his sails. He could not attack 
her, he could not ask her for proofs. Somehow he felt evi- 
dence, law, the remembrance of all his property which she 
held in her name, to be shining in her glance. He was 
like a vessel, powerful and dangerous, but rolling and 
floundering without sail. 

" And I'm telling you," he said in the end, slightly 
recovering himself, " what you'll not get." 

" We'll see about it," she said. " I'll find out what my 
rights are. Perhaps you'll talk to a lawyer, if you won't 
to me." 

It was a magnificent play, and had its effect. Hurst- 
wood fell back beaten. He knew now that he had more 
than mere bluff to contend with. He felt that he was face 



240 



SISTER CARRIE 



to face with a dull proposition. What to say he hardly 
knew. All the merriment had gone out of the day. He 
was disturbed, wretched, resentful. What should he do? 
" Do as you please," he said, at last. " I'll have nothing 
more to do with you," and out he strode. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

A SPIRIT IN TRAVAIL I ONE RUNG PUT BEHIND 

When Carrie reached her own room she had already 
fallen a prey to those doubts and misgivings which are 
ever the result of a lack of decision She could not per- 
suade herself as to the advisability of her promise, or that 
now, having given her word, she ought to keep it. She 
went over the whole ground in Hurstwood's absence, and 
discovered little objections that had not occurred to her 
in the warmth of the manager's argument. She saw 
where she had put herself in a peculiar light, namely, that 
of agreeing to marry when she was already supposedly 
married. She remembered a few things Drouet had done, 
and now that it came to walking away from him without 
a word, she felt as if she were doing wrong. Now, she 
was comfortably situated, and to one who is more or less 
afraid of the world, this is an urgent matter, and one which 
puts up strange, uncanny arguments. " You do not 
know what will come. There are miserable things out- 
side. People go a-begging. Women are wretched. You 
never can tell what will happen. Remember the time you 
were hungry. Stick to what you have." 

Curiously, for all her leaning towards Hurstwood, he 
had not taken a firm hold on her understanding. She was 
listening, smiling, approving, and yet not finally agreeing. 
This was due to a lack of power on his part, a lack of that 
majesty of passion that sweeps the mind from its seat, 
fuses and melts all arguments and theories into a tangled 
mass, and destroys for the time being the reasoning 
16 



242 SISTER CARRIE 

power. This majesty of passion is possessed by nearly 
every man once in his life, but it is usually an attribute of 
youth and conduces to the first successful mating. 

Hurstwood, being an older man, could scarcely be said 
to retain the fire of youth, though he did possess a pas- 
sion warm and unreasoning. It was strong enough to 
induce the leaning toward him which, on Carrie's part, 
we have seen. She might have been said to be imagining 
herself in love, when she was not. Women frequently do 
this. It flows from the fact that in each exists a bias to- 
ward affection, a craving for the pleasure of being loved. 
The longing to be shielded, bettered, sympathised with, 
is one of the attributes of the sex. This, coupled with 
sentiment and a natural tendency to emotion, often makes 
refusing difficult. It persuades them that they are in love. 

Once at home, she changed her clothes and straight- 
ened the rooms for herself. In the matter of the arrange- 
ment of the furniture she never took the house-maid's 
opinion. That young woman invariably put one of the 
rocking-chairs in the corner, and Carrie as regularly 
moved it out. To-day she hardly noticed that it was in 
the wrong place, so absorbed was she in her own thoughts. 
She worked about the room until Drouet put in appear- 
ance at five o'clock. The drummer was flushed and ex- 
cited and full of determination to know all about her rela- 
tions with Hurstwood. Nevertheless, after going over 
the subject in his mind the livelong day, he was rather 
weary of it and wished it over with. He did not foresee 
serious consequences of any sort, and yet he rather hesi- 
tated to begin. Carrie was sitting by the window when 
he came in, rocking and looking out. 

" Well," she said innocently, weary of her own mental 
discussion and wondering at his haste and ill-concealed 
excitement, " what makes you hurry so ? " 

Drouet hesitated, now that he was in her presence, un- 



SISTER CARRIE 243 

certain as to what course to pursue. He was no diplomat. 
He could neither read nor see. 

" When did you get home? " he asked foolishly. 

" Oh, an hour or so ago. What makes you ask that? " 

" You weren't here," he said, " when I came back this 
morning, and I thought you had gone out" 

" So I did," said Carrie simply. " I went for a walk." 

Drouet looked at her wonderingly. For all his lack 
of dignity in such matters he did not know how to begin. 
He stared at her in the most flagrant manner until at last 
she said: 

" What makes you stare at me so? What's the matter?" 

" Nothing," he answered. " I was just thinking." 

"Just thinking what? " she returned smilingly, puzzled 
by his attitude. 

" Oh, nothing — nothing much." 

" Well, then, what makes you look so? " 

Drouet was standing by the dresser, gazing at her in a 
comic manner. He had laid off his hat and gloves and 
was now fidgeting with the little toilet pieces which were 
nearest him. He hesitated to believe that the pretty 
woman before him was involved in anything so unsatis- 
factory to himself. He was very much inclined to feel 
that it was all right, after all. Yet the knowledge im- 
parted to him by the chambermaid was rankling in his 
mind. He wanted to plunge in with a straight remark of 
some sort, but he knew not what. 

" Where did you go this morning? " he finally asked 
weakly. 

" Why, I went for a walk," said Carrie. 

" Sure you did? " he asked. 

" Yes, what makes you ask? " 

She was beginning to see now that he knew something. 
Instantly she drew herself into a more reserved posi- 
tion. Her cheeks blanched slightly. 



244 SISTER CARRIE 

" I thought maybe you didn't," he said, beating about 
the bush in the most useless manner. 

Carrie gazed at him, and as she did so her ebbing cour- 
age halted. She saw that he himself was hesitating, and 
with a woman's intuition realised that there was no occa- 
sion for great alarm. 

" What makes you talk like that? " she asked, wrinkling 
her pretty forehead. " You act so ftmny to-night." 

" I feel funny," he answered. 

They looked at one another for a moment, and then 
Drouet plunged desperately into his subject. 

" What's this about you and Hurstwood? " he asked. 

" Me and Hurstwood — what do you mean? " 

" Didn't he come here a dozen times while I was 
away ? " 

" A dozen times," repeated Carrie, guiltily. " No, but 
what do you mean?" 

" Somebody said that you went out riding with him and 
that he came here every night." 

" No such thing," answered Carrie. " It isn't true. 
Who told you that? " 

She was flushing scarlet to the roots of her hair, but 
Drouet did not catch the full hue of her face, owing to the 
modified light of the room. He was regaining much con- 
fidence as Carrie defended herself with denials. 

" Well, some one," he said. " You're sure you didn't? " 

" Certainly," said Carrie. " You know how often he 
came." 

Drouet paused for a moment and thought. 

" I know what you told me," he said finally. 

He moved nervously about, while Carrie looked at him 
confusedly. 

" Well, I know that I didn't tell you any such thing as 
that," said Carrie, recovering herself. 

" If I were you," went on Drouet, ignoring her last 



SISTER CARRIE 245 

remark, " I wouldn't have anything to do with him. He's 
a married man, you know." 

" Who — who is? " said Carrie, stumbling at the word. 

" Why, Hurstwood," said Drouet, noting the effect and 
feeling that he was delivering a telling blow. 

" Hurstwood! " exclaimed Carrie, rising. Her face had 
changed several shades since this announcement was 
made. She looked within and without herself in a half- 
dazed way. 

"Who told you this?" she asked, forgetting that her 
interest was out of order and exceedingly incriminating. 

■ '■ Why, I know it. I've always known it," said Drouet. 

Carrie was feeling about for a right thought. She was 
making a most miserable showing, and yet feelings were 
generating within her which were anything but crumbling 
cowardice. 

" I thought I told you," he added. 

" No, you didn't," she contradicted, suddenly recover- 
ing her voice. " You didn't do anything of the kind." 

Drouet listened to her in astonishment. This was 
something new. 

" I thought I did," he said. 

Carrie looked around her very solemnly, and then went 
over to the window. 

" You oughtn't to have had anything to do with him," 
said Drouet in an injured tone, " after all I've done for 
you." 

" You," said Carrie, " you! What have you done for 
me? " 

Her little brain had been surging with contradictory 
feelings — shame at exposure, shame at Hurstwood's 
perfidy, anger at Drouet's deception, the mockery he 
had made of her. Now one clear idea came into her 
head. He was at fault. There was no doubt about it. 
Why did he bring Hurstwood out — Hurstwood, a mar- 



246 SISTER CARRIE 

ried man, and never say a word to her? Never mind 
now about Hurstwood's perfidy — why had he done this ? 
Why hadn't he warned her ? There he stood now, guilty 
of this miserable breach of confidence and talking about 
what he had done for her ! 

" Well, I like that," exclaimed Drouet, little realising 
the fire his remark had generated. " I think I've done a 
good deal." 

"You have, eh?" she answered. "You've deceived 
me — that's what you've done. You've brought your old 
friends out here under false pretences. You've made me 
out to be — Oh," and with this her voice broke and she 
pressed her two little hands together tragically. 

" I don't see what that's got to do with it," said the 
drummer quaintly. 

" No," she answered, recovering herself and shutting 
her teeth. " No, of course you don't see. There 
isn't anything you see. You couldn't have told me in the 
first place, could you? You had to make me out wrong 
until it was too late. Now you come sneaking around 
with your information and your talk about what you have 
done." 

Drouet had never suspected this side of Carrie's nature. 
She was alive with feeling, her eyes snapping, her lips 
quivering, her whole body sensible of the injury she felt, 
and partaking of her wrath. 

"Who's sneaking?" he asked, mildly conscious of 
error on his part, but certain that he was wronged. 

" You are," stamped Carrie. " You're a horrid, con- 
ceited coward, that's what you are. If you had any sense 
of manhood in you, you wouldn't have thought of doing 
any such thing." 

The drummer stared. 

" I'm not a coward," he said. " What do you mean 
by going with other men, anyway? " 



SISTER CARRIE 247 

" Other men! " exclaimed Carrie. " Other men — you 
know better than that. I did go with Mr. Hurstwood, 
but whose fault was it? Didn't you bring him here? 
You told him yourself that he should come out here and 
take me out. Now, after it's all over, you come and tell 
me that I oughtn't to go with him and that he's a married 
man." 

She paused at the sound of the last two words and 
wrung her hands. The knowledge of Hurstwood's perfidy 
wounded her like a knife. 

" Oh," she sobbed, repressing herself wonderfully and 
keeping her eyes dry. " Oh, oh! " 

" Well, I didn't think you'd be running around with 
him when I was away," insisted Drouet. 

" Didn't think! " said Carrie, now angered to the core 
by the man's peculiar attitude. " Of course not. You 
thought only of what would be to your satisfaction. You 
thought you'd make a toy of me — a plaything. Well, I'll 
show you that you won't. I'll have nothing more to do 
with you at all. You can take your old things and keep 
them," and unfastening a little pin he had given her, she 
flung it vigorously upon the floor and began to move 
about as if to gather up the things which belonged to her. 

By this Drouet was not only irritated but fascinated the 
more. He looked at her in amazement, and finally said : 

" I don't see where your wrath comes in. I've got the 
right of this thing. You oughtn't to have done anything 
that wasn't right after all I did for you." 

" What have you done for me? " asked Carrie blazing, 
her head thrown back and her lips parted. 

" I think I've done a good deal," said the drummer, 
looking around. " I've given you all the clothes you 
wanted, haven't I? I've taken you everywhere you 
wanted to go. You've had as much as I've had, and more 
too." 



248 SISTER CARRIE 

Carrie was not ungrateful, whatever else might be said 
of her. In so far as her mind could construe, she acknowl- 
edged benefits received. She hardly knew how to answer 
this, and yet her wrath was not placated. She felt that the 
drummer had injured her irreparably. 

" Did I ask you to? " she returned. 

" Well, I did it," said Drouet, " and you took it." 

" You talk as though I had persuaded you," answered 
Carrie. " You stand there and throw up what you've 
done. I don't want your old things. I'll not have them. 
You take them to-night and do what you please with 
them. I'll not stay here another minute." 

"That's nice!" he answered, becoming angered now 
at the sense of his own approaching loss. " Use every- 
thing and abuse me and then walk off. That's just like a 
woman. I take you when you haven't got anything, and 
then when some one else comes along, why I'm no good. 
I always thought it'd come out that way." 

He felt really hurt as he thought of his treatment, and 
looked as if he saw no way of obtaining justice. 

" It's not so," said Carrie, " and I'm not going with 
anybody else. You have been as miserable and incon- 
siderate as you can be. I hate you, I tell you, and I 
wouldn't live with you another minute. You're a big, 
insulting " — here she hesitated and used no word at all — 
" or you wouldn't talk that way." 

She had secured her hat and jacket and slipped the lat- 
ter on over her little evening dress. Some wisps of wavy 
hair had loosened from the bands at the side of her head 
and were straggling over her hot, red cheeks. She was 
angry, mortified, grief-stricken. Her large eyes were full 
of the anguish of tears, but her lids were not yet wet. She 
was distracted and uncertain, deciding and doing things 
without an aim or conclusion, and she had not the slight- 
est conception of how the whole difficulty would end. 



SISTER CARRIE 249 

" Well, that's a fine finish," said Drouet. " Pack up and 
pull out, eh? You take the cake. I bet you were knock- 
ing around with Hurstwood or you wouldn't act like that. 
I don't want the old rooms. You needn't pull out for me. 
You can have them for all I care, but b'George, you 
haven't done me right." 

" I'll not live with you," said Carrie. " I don't want to 
live with you. You've done nothing but brag around 
ever since you've been here." 

" Aw, I haven't anything of the kind," he answered. 

Carrie walked over to the door. 

" Where are you going? " he said, stepping over and 
heading her off. 

" Let me out," she said. 

" Where are you going? " he repeated. 

He was, above all, sympathetic, and the sight of Carrie 
wandering out, he knew not where, affected him, despite 
his grievance. 

Carrie merely pulled at the door. 

The strain of the situation was too much for her, how- 
ever. She made one more vain effort and then burst into 
tears. 

"Now, be reasonable, Cad," said Drouet gently. 
"What do you want to rush out for this way? You 
haven't any place to go. Why not stay here now and be 
quiet? I'll not bother you. I don't want to stay here 
any longer." 

Carrie had gone sobbing from the door to the window. 
She was so overcome she could not speak. 

" Be reasonable now," he said. " I don't want to hold 
you. You can go if you want to, but why don't you think 
it over? Lord knows, I don't want to stop you." 

He received no answer. Carrie was quieting, however, 
under the influence of his plea. 

" You stay here now, and I'll go," he added at last. 



250 SISTER CARRIE 

Carrie listened to this with mingled feelings. Her 
mind was shaken loose from the little mooring of logic 
that it had. She was stirred by this thought, angered by 
that — her own injustice, Hurstwood's, Drouet's, their re- 
spective qualities of kindness and favour, the threat of the 
world outside, in which she had failed once before, the 
impossibility of this state inside, where the chambers were 
no longer justly hers, the effect of the argument upon her 
nerves, all combined to make her a mass of jangling fibres 
— an anchorless, storm-beaten little craft which could do 
absolutely nothing but drift. 

" Say," said Drouet, coming over to her after a few 
moments, with a new idea, and putting his hand upon her. 

" Don't! " said Carrie, drawing away, but not removing 
her handkerchief from her eyes. 

" Never mind about this quarrel now. Let it go. You 
stay here until the month's out, anyhow, and then you can 
tell better what you want to do. Eh? " 

Carrie made no answer. 

" You'd better do that," he said. " There's no use 
your packing up now. You can't go anywhere." 

Still he got nothing for his words. 

" If you'll do that, we'll call it off for the present and I'll 
get out." 

Carrie lowered her handkerchief slightly and looked out 
of the window. 

" Will you do that? " he asked. 

Still no answer. 

" Will you? " he repeated. 

She only looked vaguely into the street. 

" Aw! come on," he said, " tell me. Will you? " 

" I don't know," said Carrie softly, forced to answer. 

" Promise me you'll do that," he said, " and we'll quit 
talking about it. It'll be the best thing for you." 

Carrie heard him, but she could not bring herself to 



SISTER CARRIE 25 1 

answer reasonably. She felt that the man was gentle, and 
that his interest in her had not abated, and it made her 
suffer a pang of regret. She was in a most helpless plight. 

As for Drouet, his attitude had been that of the jealous 
lover. Now his feelings were a mixture of anger at de- 
ception, sorrow at losing Carrie, misery at being defeated. 
He wanted his rights in some way or other, and yet his 
rights included the retaining of Carrie, the making her 
feel her error. 

"Will you? "he urged. 

" Well, I'll see," said Carrie. 

This left the matter as open as before, but it was some- 
thing. It looked as if the quarrel would blow over, if they 
could only get some way of talking to one another. Car- 
rie was ashamed, and Drouet aggrieved. He pretended to 
take up the task of packing some things in a valise. 

Now, as Carrie watched him out of the corner of her 
eye, certain sound thoughts came into her head. He had 
erred, true, but what had she done ? He was kindly and 
good-natured for all his egotism. Throughout this argu- 
ment he had said nothing very harsh. On the other hand, 
there was Hurstwood — a greater deceiver than he. He 
had pretended all this affection, all this passion, and he was 
lying to her all the while. Oh, the perfidy of men! And 
she had loved him. There could be nothing more in that 
quarter. She would see Hurstwood no more. She would 
write him and let him know what she thought. There- 
upon what would she do? Here were these rooms. Here 
was Drouet, pleading for her to remain. Evidently 
things could go on here somewhat as before, if all were 
arranged. It would be better than the street, without a 
place to lay her head. 

All this she thought of as Drouet rummaged the drawers 
for collars and laboured long and painstakingly at finding 
a shirt-stud. He was in no hurry to rush this matter. 



252 SISTER CARRIE 

He felt an attraction to Carrie which would not down. 
He could not think that the thing would end by his walk- 
ing out of the room. There must be some way round, 
some way to make her own up that he was right and she 
was wrong — to patch up a peace and shut out Hurstwood 
for ever. Mercy, how he turned at the man's shameless 
duplicity. 

" Do you think," he said, after a few moments' silence, 
" that you'll try and get on the stage? " 

He was wondering what she was intending. 

" I don't know what I'll do yet," said Carrie. 

" If you do, maybe I can help you. I've got a lot of 
friends in that line." 

She made no answer to this. 

" Don't go and try to knock around now without any 
money. Let me help you," he said. " It's no easy thing 
to go on your own hook here." 

Carrie only rocked back and forth in her chair. 

" I don't want you to go up against a hard game that 
way." 

He bestirred himself about some other details and Car- 
rie rocked on. 

" Why don't you tell me all about this thing," he said, 
after a time, " and let's call it off? You don't really care 
for Hurstwood, do you? " 

" Why do you want to start on that again? " said Car- 
rie. " You were to blame." 

" No, I wasn't," he answered. 

" Yes, you were, too," said Carrie. " You shouldn't 
have ever told me such a story as that." 

" But you didn't have much to do with him, did you? " 
went on Drouet, anxious for his own peace of mind to get 
some direct denial from her. 

" I won't talk about it," said Carrie, pained at the quiz- 
zical turn the peace arrangement had taken. 



SISTER CARRIE 253 

" What's the use of acting like that now, Cad? " insisted 
the drummer, stopping in his work and putting up a hand 
expressively. '' You might let me know where I stand, 
at least." 

" I won't," said Carrie, feeling no refuge but in anger. 
" Whatever has happened is your own fault." 

"Then you do care for him?" said Drouet, stopping 
completely and experiencing a rush of feeling. 

" Oh, stop! " said Carrie. 

" Well, I'll not be made a fool of," exclaimed Drouet. 
" You may trifle around with him if you want to, but you 
can't lead me. You can tell me or not, just as you want 
to, but I won't fool any longer ! " 

He shoved the last few remaining things he had laid 
out into his valise and snapped it with a vengeance. Then 
he grabbed his coat, which he had laid off to work, picked 
up his gloves, and started out. 

" You can go to the deuce as far as I am concerned," 
he said, as he reached the door. " I'm no sucker," and 
with that he opened it with a jerk and closed it equally 
vigorously. 

Carrie listened at her window view, more astonished 
than anything else at this sudden rise of passion in the 
drummer. She could hardly believe her senses — so good- 
natured and tractable had he invariably been. It was not 
for her to see the wellspring of human passion. A real 
flame of love is a subtle thing. It burns as a will-o'-the- 
wisp, dancing onward to fairylands of delight. It roars 
as a furnace. Too often jealousy is the quality upon 
which it feeds. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

ASHES OF TINDER : A FACE AT THE WINDOW 

That night Hurstwood remained down town entirely, 
going to the Palmer House for a bed after his work was 
through. He was in a fevered state of mind, owing to the 
blight his wife's action threatened to cast upon his entire 
future. While he was not sure how much significance 
might be attached to the threat she had made, he was sure 
that her attitude, if long continued, would cause him no 
end of trouble. She was determined, and had worsted 
him in a very important contest. How would it be from 
now on? He walked the floor of his little office, and later 
that of his room, putting one thing and another to- 
gether to no avail. 

Mrs. Hurstwood, on the contrary, had decided not to 
lose her advantage by inaction. Now that she had prac- 
tically cowed him, she would follow up her work with de- 
mands, the acknowledgment of which would make her 
word law in the future. He would have to pay her the 
money which she would now regularly demand or there 
would be trouble. It did not matter what he did. She 
really did not care whether he came home any more or 
not. The household would move along much more 
pleasantly without him, and she could do as she wished 
without consulting any one. Now she proposed to con- 
sult a lawyer and hire a detective. She would find out 
at once just what advantages she could gain. 

Hurstwood walked the floor, mentally arranging the 
chief points of his situation. " She has that property in 



SISTER CARRIE 255 

her name," he kept saying to himself. " What a fool 
trick that was. Curse it! What a fool move that was." 

He also thought of his managerial position. " If she 
raises a row now I'll lose this thing. They won't have 
me around if my name gets in the papers. My friends, 
too ! " He grew more angry as he thought of the talk any 
action on her part would create. How would the papers 
talk about it? Every man he knew would be wondering. 
He would have to explain and deny and make a general 
mark of himself. Then Moy would come and confer with 
him and there would be the devil to pay. 

Many little wrinkles gathered between his eyes as he 
contemplated this, and his brow moistened. He saw no 
solution of anything — not a loophole left. 

Through all this thoughts of Carrie flashed upon him, 
and the approaching affair of Saturday. Tangled as all 
his matters were, he did not worry over that. It was the 
one pleasing thing in this whole rout of trouble. He 
could arrange that satisfactorily, for Carrie would be glad 
to wait, if necessary. He would see how things turned 
out to-morrow, and then he would talk to her. They 
were going to meet as usual. He saw only her pretty 
face and neat figure and wondered why life was not ar- 
ranged so that such joy as he found with her could be 
steadily maintained. How much more pleasant it would 
be. Then he would take up his wife's threat again, and 
the wrinkles and moisture would return. 

In the morning he came over from the hotel and opened 
his mail, but there was nothing in it outside the ordinary 
run. For some reason he felt as if something might come 
that way, and was relieved when all the envelopes had 
been scanned and nothing suspicious noticed. He began 
to feel the appetite that had been wanting before he had 
reached the office, and decided before going out to the 
park to meet Carrie to drop in at the Grand Pacific and 



256 SISTER CARRIE 

have a pot of coffee and some rolls. While the danger 
had not lessened, it had not as yet materialised, and with 
him no news was good news. If he could only get plenty 
of time to think, perhaps something would turn up. 
Surely, surely, this thing would not drift along to catas- 
trophe and he not find a way out. 

His spirits fell, however, when, upon reaching the park, 
he waited and waited and Carrie did not come. He held 
his favourite post for an hour or more, then arose and 
began to walk about restlessly. Could something have 
happened out there to keep her away? Could she have 
been reached by his wife ? Surely not. So little did he con- 
sider Drouet that it never once occurred to him to worry 
about his finding out. He grew restless as he ruminated, 
and then decided that perhaps it was nothing. She had 
not been able to get away this morning. That was why 
no letter notifying him had come. He would get one to- 
day. It would probably be on his desk when he got back. 
He would look for it at once. 

After a time he gave up waiting and drearily headed for 
the Madison car. To add to his distress, the bright blue 
sky became overcast with little fleecy clouds which shut 
out the sun. The wind veered to the east, and by the 
time he reached his office it was threatening to drizzle all 
afternoon. 

He went in and examined his letters, but there was 
nothing from Carrie. Fortunately, there was nothing 
from his wife either. He thanked his stars that he did 
not have to confront that proposition just now when he 
needed to think so much. He walked the floor again, 
pretending to be in an ordinary mood, but secretly trou- 
bled beyond the expression of words. 

At one-thirty he went to Rector's for lunch, and when 
he returned a messenger was waiting for him. He looked 
at the little chap with a feeling of doubt. 



SISTER CARRIE 257 

" I'm to bring an answer," said the boy. 

Hurstwood recognised his wife's writing. He tore it 
open and read without a show of feeling. It began in the 
most formal manner and was sharply and coldly worded 
throughout. 

" I want you to send the money I asked for at once. I 
need it to carry out my plans. You can stay away if you 
want to. It doesn't matter in the least. But I must 
have some money. So don't delay, but send it by the 
boy." 

When he had finished it, he stood holding it in his 
hands. The audacity of the thing took his breath. It 
roused his ire also — the deepest element of revolt in him. 
His first impulse was to write but four words in reply — 
" Go to the devil ! " — but he compromised by telling the 
boy that there would be no reply. Then he sat down in 
his chair and gazed without seeing, contemplating the 
result of his work. What would she do about that ? The 
confounded wretch ! Was she going to try to bulldoze him 
into submission? He would go up there and have it out 
with her, that's what he would do. She was carrying 
things with too high a hand. These were his first 
thoughts. 

Later, however, his old discretion asserted itself. Some- 
thing had to be done. A climax was near and she would 
not sit idle. He knew her well enough to know that when 
she had decided upon a plan she would follow it up. Pos- 
sibly matters would go into a lawyer's hands at once. 

" Damn her ! " he said softly, with his teeth firmly set, 
" I'll make it hot for her if she causes me trouble. I'll 
make her change her tone if I have to use force to do 
it ! " 

He arose. from his chair and went and looked out into 
the street. The long drizzle had begun. Pedestrians had 
turned up collars, and trousers at the bottom. Hands 

17 



258 SISTER CARRIE 

were hidden in the pockets of the umbrellaless ; umbrellas 
were up. The street looked like a sea of round black 
cloth roofs, twisting, bobbing, moving. Trucks and vans 
were rattling in a noisy line and everywhere men were 
shielding themselves as best they could. He scarcely no- 
ticed the picture. He was forever confronting his wife, 
demanding of her to change her attitude toward him be- 
fore he worked her bodily harm. 

At four o'clock another note came, which simply said 
that if the money was not forthcoming that evening the 
matter would be laid before Fitzgerald and Moy on the 
morrow, and other steps would be taken to get it. 

Hurstwood almost exclaimed out loud at the in- 
sistency of this thing. Yes, he would send her the 
money. He'd take it to her — he would go up there and 
have a talk with her, and that at once. 

He put on his hat and looked around for his umbrella. 
He would have some arrangement of this thing. 

He called a cab and was driven through the dreary rain 
to the North Side. On the way his temper cooled as he 
thought of the details of the case. What did she know? 
What had she done? Maybe she'd got hold of Carrie, 
who knows — or — or Drouet. Perhaps she really had 
evidence, and was prepared to fell him as a man does 
another from secret ambush. She was shrewd. Why 
should she taunt him this way unless she had good 
grounds? 

He began to wish that he had compromised in some 
way or other — that he had sent the money. Perhaps he 
could do it up here. He would go in and see, anyhow. 
He would have no row. 

By the time he reached his own street he was keenly 
alive to the difficulties of his situation and wished over and 
over that some solution would offer itself, that he could 
see his way out. He alighted and went up the steps to 



SISTER CARRIE 259 

the front door, but it was with a nervous palpitation of 
the heart. He pulled out his key and tried to insert it, 
but another key was on the inside. He shook at the knob, 
but the door was locked. Then he rang the bell. No 
answer. He rang again — this time harder. Still no an- 
swer. He jangled it fiercely several times in succession, 
but without avail. Then he went below. 

There was a door which opened under the steps into 
the kitchen, protected by an iron grating, intended as a 
safeguard against burglars. When he reached this he 
noticed that it also was bolted and that the kitchen win- 
dows were down. What could it mean? He rang the 
bell and then waited. Finally, seeing that no one was 
coming, he turned and went back to his cab. 

" I guess they've gone out," he said apologetically to 
the individual who was biding his red face in a loose tar- 
paulin rain-coat. 

" I saw a young girl up in that winder," returned the 
cabby. 

Hurstwood looked, but there was no face there now. 
He climbed moodily into the cab, relieved and distressed. 

So this was the game, was it? Shut him out and make 
him pay. Well, by the Lord, that did beat all ! 



CHAPTER XXV 

ASHES OF TINDER: THE LOOSING OF STAYS 

When Hurstwood got back to his office again he was 
in a greater quandary than ever. Lord, Lord, he thought, 
what 'had he got into? How could things have taken 
such a violent turn, and so quickly? He could hardly 
realise how it had all come about. It seemed a mon- 
strous, unnatural, unwarranted condition which had sud- 
denly descended upon him without his let or hindrance. 

Meanwhile he gave a thought now and then to Carrie. 
What could be the trouble in that quarter? No letter 
had come, no word of any kind, and yet here it was late in 
the evening and she had agreed to meet him that morning. 
To-morrow they were to have met and gone off — where ? 
He saw that in the excitement of recent events he had not 
formulated a plan upon that score. He was desperately 
in love, and would have taken great chances to win her 
under ordinary circumstances, but now — now what ? Sup- 
posing she had found out something? Supposing she, too, 
wrote him and told him that she knew all — -that she would 
have nothing more to do with him ? It would be just like 
this to happen as things were going now. Meanwhile he 
had not sent the money. 

He strolled up and down the polished floor of the re- 
sort, his hands in his pockets, his brow wrinkled, his 
mouth set. He was getting some vague comfort out of a 
good cigar, but it was no panacea for the ill which affected 
him. Every once in a while he would clinch his fingers 



SISTER CARRIE 261 

and tap his foot — signs of the stirring mental process he 
was undergoing. His whole nature was vigorously and 
powerfully shaken up, and he was finding what limits the 
mind has to endurance. He drank more brandy and soda 
than he had any evening in months. He was altogether 
a fine example of great mentalperturbation. 

For all his study nothing came of the evening except 
this — he sent the money. It was with great opposition, 
after two or three hours of the most urgent mental affirma- 
tion and denial, that at last he got an envelope, placed in 
it the requested amount, and slowly sealed it up. 

Then he called Harry, the boy of all work around the 
place. 

" You take this to this address," he said, handing him 
the envelope, " and give it to Mrs. Hurstwood." 

" Yes, sir," said the boy. 

" If she isn't there bring it back." 

" Yes, sir." 

" You've seen my wife?" he asked as a precautionary 
measure as the boy turned to go. 

" Oh, yes, sir. I know her." 

" All right, now. Hurry right back." 

" Any answer? " 

" I guess not." 

The boy hastened away and the manager fell to his mus- 
ings. Now he had done it. There was no use speculat- 
ing over that. He was beaten for to-night and he might 
just as well make the best of it. But, oh, the wretched- 
ness of being forced this way! He could see her meeting 
the boy at the door and smiling sardonically. She would 
take the envelope and know that she had triumphed. If 
he only had that letter back he wouldn't send it. He 
breathed heavily and wiped the moisture from his face. 

For relief, he arose and joined in conversation with a 
few friends who were drinking. He tried to get the in- 



262 SISTER CARRIE 

terest of things about him, but it was not to be. All the 
time his thoughts would run out to his home and see the 
scene being therein enacted. All the time he was won- 
dering what she would say when the boy handed her the 
envelope. 

In about an hour and three-quarters the boy returned. 
He had evidently delivered the package, for, as he came 
up, he made no sign of taking anything out of his pocket. 

"Well?" said Hurstwood. 

" I gave it to her." 

" My wife? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Any answer? " 

" She said it was high time." 

Hurstwood scowled fiercely. 

There was no more to be done upon that score that 
night. He went on brooding over his situation until mid- 
night, when he repaired again to the Palmer House. He 
wondered What the morning would bring forth, and slept 
anything but soundly upon it. 

Next day he went -again to the office and opened his 
mail, suspicious and hopeful of its contents. No word 
from Carrie. Nothing from his wife, which was pleasant. 

The fact that he had sent the money and that she had 
received it worked to the ease of his mind, for, as the 
thought that he had done it receded, his chagrin at it 
grew less and his hope of peace more. He fancied, as he 
sat at his desk, that nothing would be done for a week or 
two. Meanwhile, he would have time to think. . 

This process of thinking began by a reversion to Carrie 
and the arrangement by which he was to get her away 
from Drouet. How about that now? His pain at her 
failure to meet or write him rapidly increased as he de- 
voted himself to this subject. He decided to write her 
care of the West Side Post-office and ask for an explana- 



SISTER CARRIE 263 

tion, as well as to have her meet him. The thought that 
this letter would probably not reach her until Monday 
chafed him exceedingly. He must get some speedier 
method — but how? 

He thought upon it for a half-hour, not contemplating 
a messenger or a cab direct to the house, owing to the 
exposure of it, but finding that time was slipping away 
to no purpose, he wrote the letter and then began to think 
again. 

The hours slipped by, and with them the possibility of 
the union he had contemplated. He had thought to be joy- 
ously aiding Carrie by now in the task of joining her in- 
terests to his, and here it was afternoon and nothing done. 
Three o'clock came, four, five, six, and no letter. The 
helpless manager paced the floor and grimly endured the 
gloom of defeat. He saw a busy Saturday ushered out, 
the Sabbath in, and nothing done. All day, the bar being 
closed, he brooded alone, shut out from home, from the 
excitement of his resort, from Carrie, and without the 
ability to alter his condition one iota. It was the worst 
Sunday he had spent in his life. 

In Monday's second mail he encountered a very legal- 
looking letter, which held his interest for some time.- It 
bore the imprint of the law offices of McGregor, James 
and Hay, and with a very formal " Dear Sir," and " We 
beg to state," went on to inform him briefly that they had 
been retained by Mrs. Julia Hurstwood to adjust certain 
matters which related to her sustenance and property 
rights, and would he kindly call and see them about the 
matter at once. 

He read it through carefully several times, and then 
merely shook his head. It seemed as if his family troubles 
were just beginning. 

" Well! " he said after a time, quite audibly, " I don't 
know," 



264 SISTER CARRIE 

Then he folded it up and put it in his pocket. 

To add to his misery there was no word from Carrie. 
He was quite certain now that she knew he was married 
and was angered at his perfidy. His loss seemed all the 
more bitter now that he needed her most. He thought 
he would go out and insist on seeing her if she did not 
send him word of some sort soon. He was really affected 
most miserably of all by this desertion. He had loved her 
earnestly enough, but now that the possibility of losing 
her stared him in the face she seemed much more at- 
tractive. He really pined for a word, and looked out upon 
her with his mind's eye in the most wistful manner. He 
did not propose to lose her, whatever she might think. 
Come what might, he would adjust this matter, and soon. 
He would go to her and tell her all his family complica- 
tions. He would explain to her just where he stood and 
how much he needed her. Surely she couldn't go back 
on him now? It wasn't possible. He would plead until 
her anger would melt — Until she would forgive him. 

Suddenly he thought: " Supposing she isn't out there — 
suppose she has gone? " 

He was forced to take his feet. It was too much to 
think of and sit still. 

Nevertheless, his rousing availed him nothing. 

On Tuesday it was the same way. He did manage to 
bring himself into the mood to go out to Carrie, but when 
he got in Ogden Place he thought he saw a man watch- 
ing him and went away. He did not go within a block of 
the house. 

One of the galling incidents of this visit was that he 
came back on a Randolph Street car, and without noticing 
arrived almost opposite the building of the concern with 
which his son was connected. This sent a pang through 
his heart. He had called on his boy there several times. 
Now the lad had not sent him a word. His absence did 



SISTER CARRIE 26$ 

not seem to be noticed by either of his children. Well, 
well, fortune plays a man queer tricks. He got back to 
his office and joined in a conversation with friends. It 
was as if idle chatter deadened the sense of misery. 

That night he dined at Rector's and returned at once 
to his office. In the bustle and show of the latter was his 
only relief. He troubled over many little details and 
talked perfunctorily to everybody. He stayed at his desk 
long after all others had gone, and only quitted it when 
the night watchman on his round pulled at the front door 
to see if it was safely locked. 

On Wednesday he received another polite note from 
McGregor, James and Hay. It read: 

"Dear Sir : We beg to inform you that we are instructed to 
wait until to-morrow (Thursday) at one o'clock, before filing suit 
against you, on behalf of Mrs. Julia Hurstwood, for divorce and 
alimony. If we do not hear from you before that time we shall 
consider that you do not wish to compromise the matter in any 
way and act accordingly. 

" Very truly yours, etc." 

" Compromise ! " exclaimed Hurstwood bitterly. 
" Compromise! " 

Again he shook his head. 

So here it was spread out clear before him, and now he 
knew what to expect. If he didn't go and see them they 
would sue him promptly. If he did, he would be offered 
terms that would make his blood boil. He folded the let- 
ter and put it with the other one. Then he put on his hat 
and went for a turn about the block. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE AMBASSADOR FALLEN: A SEARCH FOR THE GATE 

Carrie, left alone by Drouet, listened to his retreating 
steps, scarcely realising what had happened. She knew 
that he had stormed out. It was some moments before 
she questioned whether he would return, not now exactly, 
but ever. She looked around her upon the rooms, out of 
which the evening light was dying, and wondered why 
she did not feel quite the same towards them. She went 
over to the dresser and struck a match, lighting the gas. 
Then she went back to the rocker to think. 

It was some time before she could collect her thoughts, 
but when she did, this truth began to take on importance. 
She was quite alone. Suppose Drouet did not come back ? 
Suppose she should never hear anything more of him? 
This fine arrangement of chambers would not last long. 
She would have to quit them. 

To her credit, be it said, she never once counted on 
Hurstwood. She could only approach that subject with 
a pang of sorrow and regret. For a truth, she was rather 
shocked and frightened by this evidence of human de- 
pravity. He would have tricked her without turning an 
eyelash. She would have been led into a newer and worse 
situation. And yet she could not keep out the pictures 
of his looks and manners. Only this one deed seemed 
strange and miserable. It contrasted sharply with all she 
felt and knew concerning the man. 

But she was alone. That was the greater thought just 
at present. How about that? Would she go out to 



SISTER CARRIE 267 

work again? Would she begin to look around in the 
business district? The stage! Oh, yes. Drouet Had 
spoken about that. Was there any hope there? She 
moved to and fro, in deep and varied thoughts, while the 
minutes slipped away and night fell completely. She had 
had nothing to eat, and yet there she sat, thinking it over. 

She remembered that she was hungry and went to the 
little cupboard in the rear room where were the remains 
of one of their breakfasts. She looked at these things 
with certain misgivings. The contemplation of food had 
more significance than usual. 

While she was eating she began to wonder how much 
money she had. It struck her as exceedingly important, 
and without ado she went to look for her purse. It was 
on the dresser, and in it were seven dollars in bills and 
some change. She quailed as she thought of the insig- 
nificance of the amount and rejoiced because the rent was 
paid until the end of the month. She began also to think 
what she would have done if she had gone out into the 
street when she first started. By the side of that situa- 
tion, as she looked at it now, the present seemed agree- 
able. She had a little time at least, and then, perhaps, 
everything would come out all right, after all. 

Drouet had gone, but what of it? He did not seem 
seriously angry. He only acted as if he were huffy. He 
would come back — of course he would. There was his 
cane in the corner. Here was one of his collars. He had 
left his light overcoat in the wardrobe. She looked about 
and tried to assure herself with the sight of a dozen such 
details, but, alas, the secondary thought arrived. Sup- 
posing he did come back. Then what? 

Here was another proposition nearly, if not quite, as 
disturbing. She would have to talk with and explain to 
him. He would want her to admit that he was right. It 
would be impossible for her to live with him. 



268 SISTER CARRIE 

On Friday Carrie remembered her appointment with 
Hurstwood, and the passing of the hour when she should, 
by all right of promise, have been in his company served 
to keep the calamity which had befallen her exceedingly 
fresh and clear. In her nervousness and stress of mind 
she felt it necessary to act, and consequently put on 
a brown street dress, and at eleven o'clock started to 
visit the business portion once again. She must look 
for work. 

The rain, which threatened at twelve and began at one, 
served equally well to cause her to retrace her steps 
and remain within doors as it did to reduce Hurstwood's 
spirits and give him a wretched day. 

The morrow was Saturday, a half-holiday in many busi- 
ness quarters, and besides it was a balmy, radiant day, with 
the trees and grass shining exceedingly green after the 
rain of the night before. When she went out the sparrows 
were twittering merrily in joyous choruses. She could 
not help feeling, as she looked across the lovely park, that 
life was a joyous thing for those who did not need to 
worry, and she wished over and over that something 
might interfere now to preserve for her the comfortable 
state which she had occupied. She did not want Drouet 
or his money when she thought of it, nor anything more 
to do with Hurstwood, but only the content and ease of 
mind she had experienced, for, after all, she had been 
happy — happier, at least, than she was now when con- 
fronted by the necessity of making her way alone. 

When she arrived in the business part it was quite 
eleven o'clock, and the business had little longer to run. 
She did not realise this at first, being affected by some of 
the old distress which was a result of her earlier adventure 
into this strenuous and exacting quarter. She wandered 
about, assuring herself that she was making up her mind 
to look for something, and at the same time feeling that 



SISTER CARRIE 269 

perhaps it was not necessary to be in such haste about it. 
The thing was difficult to encounter, and she had a few 
days. Besides, she was not sure that she was really face 
to face again with the bitter problem of self-sustenance. 
Anyhow, there was one change for the better. She knew 
that she had improved in appearance. Her manner had 
vastly changed. Her clothes were becoming, and men 
— well-dressed men, some of the kind who before had 
gazed at her indifferently from behind their polished rail- 
ings and imposing office partitions — now gazed into her 
face with a soft light in their eyes. In a way, she felt the 
power and satisfaction of the thing, but it did not wholly 
reassure her. She looked for nothing save what might 
come legitimately and without the appearance of special 
favour. She wanted something, but no man should buy 
her by false protestations or favour. She proposed to 
earn her living honestly. 

" This store closes at one on Saturdays," was a pleasing 
and satisfactory legend to see upon doors which she felt 
she ought to enter and inquire for work. It gave her an 
excuse, and after encountering quite a number of them, 
and noting that the clock registered 12.15, she decided 
that it would be no use to seek further to-day, so she got 
on a car and went to Lincoln Park. There was always 
something to see there — the flowers, the animals, the lake 
— and she flattered herself that on Monday she would be 
up betimes and searching. Besides, many things might 
happen between now and Monday. 

Sunday passed with equal doubts, worries, assurances, 
and heaven knows what vagaries of mind and spirit. 
Every half-hour in the day the thought would come to her 
most sharply, like the tail of a swishing whip, that action 
— immediate action — was imperative. At other times she 
would look about her and assure herself that things were 
not so bad— -4hat certainly she would come out safe and 



2-jo SISTER CARRIE 

sound. At such times she would think of Drouet's ad- 
vice about going on the stage, and saw some chance for 
herself in that quarter. She decided to take up that op- 
portunity on the morrow. 

Accordingly, she arose early Monday morning and 
dressed herself carefully. She did not know just how such 
applications were made, but she took it to be a matter 
which related more directly to the theatre buildings. All 
you had to do was to inquire of some one about the 
theatre for the manager and ask for a position. If there 
was anything, you might get it, or, at least, he could tell 
you how. 

She had had no experience with this class of individuals 
whatsoever, and did not know the salacity and humour of 
the theatrical tribe. She only knew of the position which 
Mr. Hale occupied, but, of all things, she did not wish 
to encounter that personage, on account of her intimacy 
with his wife. 

There was, however, at this time, one theatre, the 
Chicago Opera House, which was considerably in the 
public eye, and its manager, David A. Henderson, had a 
fair local reputation. Carrie had seen one or two elabo- 
rate performances there and had heard of several others. 
She knew nothing of Henderson nor of the methods of 
applying, but she instinctively felt that this would be a 
likely place, and accordingly strolled about in that neigh- 
bourhood. She came bravely enough to the showy en- 
trance way, with the polished and begilded lobby, set with 
framed pictures out of the current attraction, leading up to 
the quiet box-office, but she could get no further. A 
noted comic opera comedian was holding forth that week, 
and the air of distinction and prosperity overawed her. 
She could not imagine that there would be anything in 
such a lofty sphere for her. She almost trembled at the 
audacity which might have carried her on to a terrible 



SISTER CARRIE 27 1 

rebuff. She could find heart only to look at the pictures 
which were showy and then walk out. It seemed to her 
as if she had made a splendid escape and that it would be 
foolhardy to think of applying in that quarter again. 

This little experience settled her hunting for one day. 
She looked around elsewhere, but it was from the outside. 
She got the location of several playhouses fixed in her 
mind — notably the Grand Opera House and McVickar's, 
both of which were leading in attractions — and then came 
away. Her spirits were materially reduced, owing to the 
newly restored sense of magnitude of the great interests 
and the insignificance of her claims upon society, such as 
she understood them to be. 

That night she was visited by Mrs. Hale, whose chatter 
and protracted stay made it impossible to dwell upon her 
predicament or the fortune of the day. Before retiring, 
however, she sat down to think, and gave herself up .to 
the most gloomy forebodings. Drouet had not put in 
an appearance. She had had no word from any quarter, 
she had spent a dollar of her precious sum in procuring 
food and paying car fare. It was evident that she would 
not endure long. Besides, she had discovered no resource. 

In this situation her thoughts went out to her sister in 
Van Buren Street, whom she had not seen since the night 
of her flight, and to her home at Columbia City, which 
seemed now a part of something that could not be again. 
She looked for no refuge in that direction. Nothing but 
sorrow was brought her by thoughts of Hurstwood, which 
would return. That he could have chosen to dupe her in 
so ready a manner seemed a cruel thing. 

Tuesday came, and with it appropriate indecision and 
speculation. She was in no mood, after her failure of the 
day before, to hasten forth upon her work-seeking errand, 
and yet she rebuked herself for what she considered her 
weakness the day before. Accordingly she started out to 



2^2 SISTER CARRIE 

revisit the Chicago Opera House, but possessed scarcely 
enough courage to approach. 

She did manage to inquire at the box-office, however. 

" Manager of the company or the house ? " asked the 
smartly dressed individual who took care of the tickets. 
He was favourably impressed by Carrie's looks. 

" I don't know," said Carrie, taken back by the question. 

" You couldn't see the manager of the house to-day, 
anyhow," volunteered the young man. " He's out of 
town." 

He noted her puzzled look, and then added: '• What is 
it you wish to see about? " 

" I want to see about getting a position," she answered. 

" You'd better see the manager of the company," he 
returned, " but he isn't here now." 

" When will he be in ? " asked Carrie, somewhat re- 
lieved by this information. 

" Well, you might find him in between eleven and 
twelve. He's here after two o'clock." 

Carrie thanked him and walked briskly out, while the 
young man gazed after her through one of the side win- 
dows of his gilded coop. 

" Good-looking," he said to himself, and proceeded to 
visions of condescensions on her part which were exceed- 
ingly nattering to himself. 

One of the principal comedy companies of the day was 
playing an engagement at the Grand Opera House. Here 
Carrie asked to see the manager of the company. She 
little knew the trivial authority of this individual, or that 
had there been a vacancy an actor would have been sent 
on from New York to fill it. 

" His office is upstairs," said a man in the box-office. 

Several persons were in the manager's office, two loung- 
ing near a window, another talking to an individual sit- 
ting at a roll-top desk — the manager. Carrie glanced 



SISTER CARRIE 273 

nervously about, and began to fear that she should have to 
make her appeal before the assembled company, two of 
whom — the occupants of the window — were already ob- 
serving her carefully. 

" I can't do it," the manager was saying; " it's a rule 
of Mr. Frohman's never to allow visitors back of the stage. 
No, no!" 

Carrie timidly waited, standing. There were chairs, but 
no one motioned her to be seated. The individual to 
whom the manager had been talking went away quite 
crestfallen. That luminary gazed earnestly at some papers 
before him, as if they were of the greatest concern. 

" Did you see that in the ' Herald ' this morning about 
Nat Goodwin, Harris? " 

" No," said the person addressed. " What was it? " 

" Made quite a curtain address at Hooley's last night. 
Better look it up." 

Harris reached over to a table and began to look for 
the "■ Herald." 

" What is it? " said the manager to Carrie, apparently 
noticing her for the first time. He thought he was going 
to be held up for free tickets. 

Carrie summoned up all her courage, which was little at 
best. She realised that she was a novice, and felt as if 
a rebuff were certain. Of this she was so sure that she 
only wished now to pretend she had called for advice. 

" Can you tell me how to go about getting on the 
stage? " 

It was the best way after all to have gone about the 
matter. She was interesting, in a manner, to the occu- 
pant of the chair, and the simplicity of her request and 
attitude took his fancy. He smiled, as did the others 
in the room, who, however, made some slight effort to 
conceal their humour. 

" I don't know," he answered, looking her brazenly 
18 



274 SISTER CARRIE 

over. " Have you ever had any experience upon the 
stage?" 

" A little," answered Carrie. " I have taken part in 
amateur performances." 

She thought she had to make some sort of showing in 
order to retain his interest. 

" Never studied for the stage? " he said, putting on an 
air intended as much to impress his friends with his dis- 
cretion as Carrie. 

" No, sir." 

" Well, I don't know," he answered, tipping lazily back 
in his chair while she stood before him. " What makes 
you want to get on the stage ? " 

She felt abashed at the man's daring, but could only 
smile in answer to his engaging smirk, and say: 

" I need to make a living." 

" Oh," he answered, rather taken by her trim appear- 
ance, and feeling as if he might scrape up an acquaintance 
with her. " That's a good reason, isn't it? Well, Chi- 
cago is not a good place for what you want to do. You 
ought to be in New York. There's more chance there. 
You could hardly expect to get started out here." 

Carrie smiled genially, grateful that he should conde- 
scend to advise her even so much. He noticed the 
smile, and put a slightly different construction on it. 
He thought he saw an easy chance for a little flirtation. 

" Sit down," he said, pulling a chair forward from the 
side of his desk and dropping his voice so that the two 
men in the room should not hear. Those two gave each 
other the suggestion of a wink. 

" Well, I'll be going, Barney," said one, breaking away 
and so addressing the manager. " See you this after- 
noon." 

" All right," said the manager. 

The remaining individual took up a paper as if to read. 



SISTER CARRIE 275 

" Did you have any idea what sort of part you would 
like to get? " asked the manager softly. 

" Oh, no," said Carrie. " I would take anything to 
begin with." 

" I see," he said. " Do you live here in the city? " 

" Yes, sir." 

The manager smiled most blandly. 

" Have you ever tried to get in as a chorus girl?" he 
asked, assuming a more confidential air. 

Carrie began to feel that there was something exuberant 
and unnatural in his manner. 

" No," she said. 

" That's the way most girls begin," he went on, " who 
go on the stage. It's a good way to get experience." 

He was turning on her a glance of the companionable 
and persuasive manner. 

" I didn't know that," said Carrie. 

" It's a difficult thing," he went on, " but there's al- 
ways a chance, you know." Then, as if he suddenly re- 
membered, he pulled out his watch and consulted it. 
" I've an appointment at two," he said, " and I've got to 
go to lunch now. Would you care to come and dine with 
me? We can talk it over there." 

" Oh, no," said Carrie, the whole motive of the man 
flashing on her at once. " I have an engagement myself." 

" That's too bad," he said, realising that he had been a 
little beforehand in his offer and that Carrie was about 
to go away. " Come in later. I may know of some- 
thing." 

" Thank you," she answered, with some trepidation, 
and went out. 

" She was good-looking, wasn't she? " said the mana- 
ger's companion, who had not caught all the details of the 
game he had played. 

" Yes, in a way," said the other, sore to think the game 



276 SISTER CARRIE 

had been lost. " She'd never make an actress, though. 
Just another chorus girl — that's all." 

This little experience nearly destroyed her ambition to 
call upon the manager at the Chicago Opera House, but 
she decided to do so after a time. He was of a more 
sedate turn of mind. He said at once that there was 
no opening of any sort, and seemed to consider her 
search foolish. 

" Chicago is no place to get a start," he said. " You 
ought to be in New York." 

Still she persisted, and went to McVickar's, where she 
could not find any one. " The Old Homestead " was run- 
ning there, but the person to whom she was referred was 
not to be found. 

These little expeditions took up her time until quite four 
o'clock, when she was weary enough to go home. She 
felt as if she ought to continue and inquire elsewhere, but 
the results so far were too dispiriting. She took the car 
and arrived at Ogden Place in three-quarters of an hour, 
but decided to ride on to the West Side branch of the 
Post-office, where she was accustomed to receive Hurst- 
wood's letters. There was one there now, written Satur- 
day, which she tore open and read with mingled feelings. 
There was so much warmth in it and such tense complaint 
at her having failed to meet him, and her subsequent si- 
lence, that she rather pitied the man. That he loved her 
was evident enough. That he had wished and dared to 
do so, married as he was, was the evil. She felt as if the 
thing deserved an answer, and consequently decided that 
she would write and let him know that she knew of his 
married state and was justly incensed at his deception. 
She would tell him that it was all over between them. 

At her room, the wording of this missive occupied her 
for some time, for she fell to the task at once. It was most 
difficult. 



SISTER CARRIE 



277 



" You do not need to have me explain why I did not meet 
you," she wrote in part. " How could you deceive me so ? You 
cannot expect me to have anything more to do with you. I 
wouldn't under any circumstances. Oh, how could you act 
so ? " she added in a burst of feeling. " You have caused me 
more misery than you can think. I hope you will get over your 
infatuation for me. We must not meet any more. Good-bye." 

She took the letter the next morning, and at the corner 
dropped it reluctantly into the letter-box, still uncertain 
as to whether she should do so or not. Then she took the 
car and went down town. 

This was the dull season with the department stores, 
but she was listened to with more consideration than was 
usually accorded to young women applicants, owing to 
her neat and attractive appearance. She was asked the 
same old questions with which she was already familiar. 

" What can you do? Have you ever worked in a re- 
tail store before? Are you experienced? " 

At The Fair, See and Company's, and all the great 
stores it was much the same. It was the dull season, 
she might come in a little later, possibly they would 
like to have her. 

When she arrived at the house at the end of the day, 
weary and disheartened, she discovered that Drouet had 
been there. His umbrella and light overcoat were gone. 
She thought she missed other things, but could not be 
sure. Everything had not been taken. 

So his going was crystallising into staying. What was 
she to do now? Evidently she would be facing the world 
in the same old way within a day or two. Her clothes 
would get poor. She put her two hands together in her 
customary expressive way and pressed her fingers. Large 
tears gathered in her eyes and broke hot across her cheeks. 
She was alone, very much alone. 

Drouet really had called, but it was with a very different 



278 SISTER CARRIE 

mind from that which Carrie had imagined. He expected 
to find her, to justify his return by claiming that he came 
to get the remaining portion of his wardrobe, and before 
he got away again to patch up a peace. 

Accordingly, when he arrived, he was disappointed to 
find Carrie out. He trifled about, hoping that she was 
somewhere in the neighbourhood and would soon return. 
He constantly listened, expecting to hear her foot on the 
stair. 

When he did so, it was his intention to make believe 
that he had just come in and was disturbed at being 
caught. Then he would explain his need of his clothes 
and find out how things stood. 

Wait as he did, however, Carrie did not come. From 
pottering around among the drawers, in momentary ex- 
pectation of her arrival, he changed to looking out of the 
window, and from that to resting himself in the rocking- 
chair. Still no Carrie. He began to grow restless and lit 
a cigar. After that he walked the floor. Then he looked 
out of the window and saw clouds gathering. He remem- 
bered an appointment at three. He began to think that it 
would be useless to wait, and got hold of his umbrella and 
light coat, intending to take these 'things, any way. It 
would scare her, he hoped. To-morrow he would come 
back for the others. He would find out how things stood. 

As he started to go he felt truly sorry that he had missed 
her. There was a little picture of her on the wall, showing 
her arrayed in the little jacket he had first bought her — 
her face a little more wistful than he had seen it lately. 
He was really touched by it, and looked into the eyes of it 
with a rather rare feeling for him. 

" You didn't do me right, Cad," he said, as if he were 
addressing her in the flesh. 

Then he went to the door, took a good look around, 
and went out. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

WHEN WATERS ENGULF US WE REACH FOR A STAR 

It was when he returned from his disturbed stroll about 
the streets, after receiving the decisive note from Mc- 
Gregor, James and Hay, that Hurstwood found the letter 
Carrie had written him that morning. He thrilled in- 
tensely as he noted the handwriting, and rapidly tore it 
open. 

" Then," he thought, " she loves me or she would not 
have written to me at all." 

He was slightly depressed at the tenor of the note for 
the first few minutes, but soon recovered. " She wouldn't 
write at all if she didn't care for me." 

This was his one resource against the depression which 
held him. He could extract little from the wording of the 
letter, but the spirit he thought he knew. 

There was really something exceedingly human — if not 
pathetic — in his being thus relieved by a clearly worded 
reproof. He who had for so long remained satisfied with 
himself now looked outside of himself for comfort — and 
to such a source. The mystic cords of affection ! How 
they bind us all. 

The colour came to his cheeks. For the moment he 
forgot the letter from McGregor, James and Hay. If he 
could only have Carrie, perhaps he could get out of the 
whole entanglement — perhaps it would not matter. He 
wouldn't care what his wife did with herself if only he 
might not lose Carrie. He stood up and walked about, 



280 SISTER CARRIE 

dreaming his delightful dream of a life continued with this 
lovely possessor of his heart. 

It was not long, however, before the old worry was 
back for consideration, and with it what weariness! He 
thought of the morrow and the suit. He had done noth- 
ing, and here was the afternoon slipping away. It was 
now a quarter of four. At five the attorneys would have 
gone home. He still had the morrow until noon. Even 
as he thought, the last fifteen minutes passed away and it 
was five. Then he abandoned the thought of seeing them 
any more that day and turned to Carrie. 

It is to be observed that the man did not justify himself 
to himself. He was not troubling about that. His whole 
thought was the possibility of persuading Carrie. Noth- 
ing was wrong in that. He loved her dearly. Their mu- 
tual happiness depended upon it. Would that Drouet 
were only away ! 

While he was thinking thus elatedly, he remembered 
that he wanted some clean linen in the morning. 

This he purchased, together with a half-dozen ties, and 
went to the Palmer House. As he entered he thought he 
saw Drouet ascending the stairs with a key. Surely not 
Drouet! Then he thought, perhaps they had changed 
their abode temporarily. He went straight up to the 
desk. 

" Is Mr. Drouet stopping here? " he asked of the clerk. 

" I think he is," said the latter, consulting his private 
registry list. " Yes." 

"Is that so?" exclaimed Hurstwood, otherwise con- 
cealing his astonishment. " Alone? " he added. 

" Yes," said the clerk. 

Hurstwood turned away and set his lips so as best to 
express and conceal his feelings. 

"How's that?" he thought. "They've had a row." 

He hastened to his room with rising spirits and changed 



SISTER CARRIE 28 1 

his linen. As he did so, he made up his mind that if Car- 
rie was alone, or if she had gone to another place, it be- 
hooved him to find out. He decided to call at once. 

" I know what I'll do," he thought. " I'll go to the 
door and ask if Mr. DroUet is at home. That will bring 
out whether he is there or not and where Carrie is." 

He was almost moved to some muscular display as he 
thought of it. He decided to go immediately after supper. 

On coming down from his room at six, he looked care- 
fully about to see if Drouet was present and then went 
out to lunch. He could scarcely eat, however, he was so 
anxious to be about his errand. Before starting he 
thought it well to discover where Drouet would be, and 
returned to his hotel. 

" Has Mr. Drouet gone out? " he asked of the clerk. 

" No," answered the latter, " he's in his room. Do you 
wish to send up a card? " 

" No, I'll call around later," answered Hurstwood, and 
strolled out. 

He took a Madison car and went direct to Ogden Place, 
this time walking boldly up to the door. The chamber- 
maid answered his knock. 

" Is Mr. Drouet in? " said Hurstwood blandly. 

" He is out of the city," said the girl, who had heard 
Carrie tell this to Mrs. Hale. 

"Is Mrs. Drouet in?" 

" No, she has gone to the theatre." 

" Is that so ? " said Hurstwood, considerably taken 
back; then, as if burdened with something important, 
" You don't know to which theatre ? " 

The girl really had no idea where she had gone, but not 
liking Hurstwood, and wishing to cause him trouble, an- 
swered: "Yes, Hooley's." 

" Thank you," returned the manager, and, tipping his 
hat slightly, went away. 



282 SISTER CARRIE 

" I'll look in at Hooley's," thought he, but as a mat- 
ter of fact he did not. Before he had reached the cen- 
tral portion of the city he thought the whole matter over 
and decided it would be useless. As much as he longed 
to see Carrie, he knew she would be with some one and 
did not wish to intrude with his plea there. A little 
later he might do so — in the morning. Only in the 
morning he had the lawyer question before him. 

This little pilgrimage threw quite a wet blanket upon 
his rising spirits. He was soon down again to his old 
worry, and reached the resort anxious to find relief. Quite 
a company of gentlemen were making the place lively 
with their conversation. A group of Cook County poli- 
ticians were conferring about a round cherry-wood table 
in the rear portion of the room. Several young merry- 
makers were chattering at the bar before making a be- 
lated visit to the theatre. A shabbily-genteel individual, 
with a red nose and an old high hat, was sipping a quiet 
glass of ale alone at one end of the bar. Hurstwood 
nodded to the politicians and went into his office. 

About ten o'clock a friend of his, Mr. Frank L. Taintor, 
a local sport and racing man, dropped in, and seeing 
Hurstwood alone in his office came to the door. 

"Hello, George!" he exclaimed. 

"How are you, Frank?" said Hurstwood, somewhat 
relieved by the sight of him. " Sit down," and he mo- 
tioned him to one of the chairs in the little room. 

" What's the matter, George? " asked Taintor. " You 
look a little glum. Haven't lost at the track, have you? " 

" I'm not feeling very well to-night. I had a slight cold 
the other day." 

" Take whiskey, George," said Taintor. " You ought 
to know that." 

Hurstwood smiled. 

While they were still conferring there, several other cf 



SISTER CARRIE 283 

Hurstwood's friends entered, and not long after eleven, 
the theatres being out, some actors began to drop in — 
among them some notabilities. 

Then began one of those pointless social conversations 
so common in American resorts where the would-be gilded 
attempt to rub off gilt from those who have it in abun- 
dance. If Hurstwood had one leaning, it was toward 
notabilities. He considered that, if anywhere, he be- 
longed among them. He was too proud to toady, too 
keen not to strictly observe the plane he occupied when 
there were those present who did not appreciate him, but, 
in situations like the present, where he could shine as a 
gentleman and be received without equivocation as a 
friend and equal among men of known ability, he was 
most delighted. It was on such occasions, if ever, that 
he would " take something." When the social flavour 
was strong enough he would even unbend to the extent 
of drinking glass for glass with his associates, punctili- 
ously observing his turn to pay as if he were an outsider 
like the others. If he ever approached intoxication — or 
rather that ruddy warmth and comfortableness which 
precedes the more sloven state — it was when individuals 
such as these were gathered about him, when he was one 
of a circle of chatting celebrities. To-night, disturbed as 
was his state, he was rather relieved to find company, and 
now that notabilities were gathered, he laid aside his 
troubles for the nonce, and joined in right heartily. 

It was not long before the imbibing began to tell. 
Stories began to crop up — those ever-enduring, droll sto- 
ries which form the major portion of the conversation 
among American men under such circumstances. 

Twelve o'clock arrived, the hour for closing, and with 
it the company took leave. Hurstwood shook hands with 
them most cordially. He was very roseate physically. 
He had arrived at that state where his mind, though clear, 



284 SISTER CARRIE 

was, nevertheless, warm in its fancies. He felt as if his 
troubles were not very serious. Going into his office, he 
began to turn over certain accounts, awaiting the depar- 
ture of the bartenders and the cashier, who soon left. 

It was the manager's duty, as well as his custom, after 
all were gone to see that everything was safely closed up 
for the night. As a rule, no money except the cash taken 
in after banking hours was kept about the place, and that 
was locked in the safe by the cashier, who, with the own- 
ers, was joint keeper of the secret combination, but, never- 
theless, Hurstwood nightly took the precaution to try the 
cash drawers and the safe in order to see that they were 
tightly closed. Then he would lock his own little office 
and set the proper light burning near the safe, after which 
he would take his departure. 

Never in his experience had he found anything out of 
order, but to-night, after shutting down his desk, he came 
out. and tried the safe. His way was to give a sharp pull. 
This time the door responded. He was slightly surprised 
at that, and looking in found the money cases as left for 
the day, apparently unprotected. His first thought was, 
of course, to inspect the drawers and shut the door. 

" I'll speak to Mayhew about this to-morrow," he 
thought. 

The latter had certainly imagined upon going out a half- 
hour before that he had turned the knob on the door so 
as to spring the lock. He had never failed to do so be- 
fore. But to-night Mayhew had other thoughts. He 
had been revolving the problem of a business of his own. 

" I'll look in here," thought the manager, pulling out 
the money drawers. He did not know why he wished 
to look in there. It was quite a superfluous action, which 
another time might not have happened at all. 

As 'he did so, a layer of bills, in parcels of a thousand, 
such as banks issue, caught his eye. He could not tell 



SISTER CARRIE 285 

how much they represented, but paused to view them. 
Then he pulled out the second of the cash drawers. In 
that were the receipts of the day. 

" I didn't know Fitzgerald and Moy ever left any money 
this way," his mind said to itself. " They must have 
forgotten it." 

He looked at the other drawer and paused again. 

" Count them," said a voice in his ear. 

He put his hand into the first of the boxes and lifted the 
stack, letting the separate parcels fall. They were bills 
of fifty and one hundred dollars done in packages of a 
thousand. He thought he counted ten such. 

"Why don't I shut the safe?" his mind said to itself, 
lingering. " What makes me pause here? " 

For answer there came the strangest words : 

" Did you ever have ten thousand dollars in ready 
money? " 

Lo, the manager remembered that he had never had so 
much. All his property had been slowly accumulated, 
and now his wife owned that. He was worth more than 
forty thousand, all told — but she would get that. 

He puzzled as he thought of these things, then pushed 
in the drawers and closed the door, pausing with his hand 
upon the knob, which might so easily lock it all beyond 
temptation. Still he paused. Finally he went to the 
windows and pulled down the curtains. Then he tried 
the door, which he had previously locked. What was this 
thing, making him suspicious? Why did he wish to move 
about so quietly. He came back to the end of the counter 
as if to rest his arm and think. Then he went and un- 
locked his little office door and turned on the light. He 
also opened his desk, sitting down before it, only to think 
strange thoughts. 

" The safe is open," said a voice. " There is just the 
least little crack in it. The lock has not been sprung." 



286 SISTER CARRIE 

The manager floundered among a jumble of thoughts. 
Now all the entanglement of the day came back. Also 
the thought that here was a solution. That money would 
do it. If he had that and Carrie. He rose up and stood 
stock-still, looking at the floor. 

"What about it?" his mind asked, and for answer he 
put his hand slowly up and scratched his head. 

The manager was no fool to be led blindly away by such 
an errant proposition as this, but his situation was pecu- 
liar. Wine was in his veins. It had crept up into his 
head and given him a warm view of the situation. It also 
coloured the possibilities of ten thousand for him. He 
could see great opportunities with that. He could get 
Carrie. Oh, yes, he could ! He could get rid of his wife. 
That letter, too, was waiting discussion to-morrow morn- 
ing. He would not need to answer that. He went back 
to the safe and put his hand on the knob. Then he pulled 
the door open and took the drawer with the money quite 
out. 

With it once out and before him, it seemed a foolish 
thing to think about leaving it. Certainly it would. Why, 
he could live quietly with Carrie for years. 

Lord! what was that? For the first time he was tense, 
as if a stern hand had been laid upon his shoulder. He 
looked fearfully around. Not a soul was present. Not 
a sound. Some one was shuffling by on the sidewalk. 
He took the box and the money and put it back in the 
safe. Then he partly closed the door again. 

To those who have never wavered in conscience, the 
predicament of the individual whose mind is less strongly 
constituted and who trembles in the balance between duty 
and desire is scarcely appreciable, unless graphically por- 
trayed. Those who have never heard that solemn voice 
of the ghostly clock which ticks with awful distinctness, 
" thou shalt," " thou shalt not," " thou shalt," " thou shalt 



SISTER CARRIE 287 

not," are in no position to judge. Not alone in sensi- 
tive, highly organised natures is such a mental conflict 
possible. The dullest specimen of humanity, when drawn 
by desire toward evil, is recalled by a sense of right, which 
is proportionate in power and strength to his evil ten- 
dency. We must remember that it may not be a knowl- 
edge of right, for no knowledge of right is predicated of 
the animal's instinctive recoil at evil. Men are still led 
by instinct before they are regulated by knowledge. It 
is instinct which recalls the criminal — it is instinct (where 
highly organised reasoning is absent) which gives the 
criminal his feeling of danger, his fear of wrong. 

At every first adventure, then, into some untried evil, 
the mind wavers. The clock of thought ticks out its wish 
and its denial. To those who have never experienced 
such a mental dilemma, the following will appeal on the 
simple ground of revelation. 

When Hurstwood put the money back, his nature again 
resumed its ease and daring. No one had observed him. 
He was quite alone. No one could tell what he wished 
to do. He could work this thing out for himself. 

The imbibation of the evening had not yet worn off. 
Moist as was his brow, tremble as did his hand once after 
the nameless fright, he was still flushed with the fumes of 
liquor. He scarcely noticed that the time was passing. 
He went over his situation once again, his eye always see- 
ing the money in a lump, his mind always seeing what it 
would do. He strolled into his little room, then to 
the door, then to the safe again. He put his hand on the 
knob and opened it. There was the money! Surely no 
harm could come from looking at it! 

He took out the drawer again and lifted the bills. They 
were so smooth, so compact, so portable. How little they 
made, after all. He decided he would take them. Yes, 
he would. He would put them in his pocket. Then he 



288 SISTER CARRIE 

looked at that and saw they would not go there. His .hand 
satchel! To be sure, his hand satchel. They would go 
in that— all of it would. No one would think anything of 
it either. He went into the little office and took it from 
the shelf in the corner. Now he set it upon his desk and 
went out toward the safe. For some reason he did not 
want to fill it out in the big room. 

First he brought the bills and then the loose receipts of 
the day. He would take it all. He put the empty draw- 
ers back and pushed the iron door almost to, then stood 
beside it meditating. 

The wavering of a mind under such circumstances is an 
almost inexplicable thing, and yet it is absolutely true. 
Hurstwood could not bring himself to act definitely. He 
wanted to think about it— to ponder over it, to decide 
whether it were best. He was drawn by such a keen de- 
sire for Carrie, driven by such a state of turmoil in his own 
affairs that he thought constantly it would be best, 
and yet he wavered. He did not know what evil might 
result from it to him — how soon he might come to grief. 
The true ethics of the situation never once occurred to 
him, and never would have, under any circumstances. 

After he had all the money in the hand bag, a revulsion 
of feeling seized him. He would not do it— no! Think 
of what a scandal it would make. The police! They 
would be after him. He would have to fly, and where? 
Oh, the terror of being a fugitive from justice ! He took 
out the two boxes and put all the money back. In his ex- 
citement he forgot what he was doing, and put the sums 
in the wrong boxes. As he pushed the door to, he 
thought he remembered doing it wrong and opened the 
door again. There were the two boxes mixed. 

He took them out and straightened the matter, but now 
the terror had gone. Why be afraid? 

While the money was in his hand the lock clicked. It 



SISTER CARRIE 289 

had sprung ! Did he do it ? He grabbed at the knob and 
pulled vigorously. It had closed. Heavens! he was in 
for it now, sure enough. 

The moment he realised that the safe was locked for a 
surety, the sweat burst out upon his brow and he trembled 
violently. He looked about him and decided instantly. 
There was no delaying now. 

" Supposing I do lay it on the top," he said, " and go 
away, they'll know who took it. I'm the last to close up. 
Besides, other things will happen." 

At once he became the man of action. 

" I must get out of this," he thought. 

He hurried into his little room, took down his light 
overcoat and hat, locked his desk, and grabbed the satchel. 
Then he turned out all but one light and opened the door. 
He tried to put on his old assured air, but it was almost 
gone. He was repenting rapidly. 

" I wish I hadn't done that," he said. " That was a 
mistake." 

He walked steadily down the street, greeting a night 
watchman whom he knew who was trying doors. He 
must get out of the city, and that quickly. 

" I wonder how the trains run? " he thought. 

Instantly he pulled out his watch and looked. It was 
nearly half-past one. 

At the first drug store he stopped, seeing a long-dis- 
tance telephone booth inside. It was a famous drug store, 
and contained one of the first private telephone booths 
ever erected. 

" I want to use your 'phone a minute," he said to the 
night clerk. 

The latter nodded. >. 

" Give me 1643," ne called to Central, after looking up 
the Michigan Central depot number. Soon he got the 
ticket agent. 

19 



290 



SISTER CARRIE 



" How do the trains leave here for Detroit? " he asked. 

The man explained the hours. 

" No more to-night? " 

" Nothing with a sleeper. Yes, there is, too," he added. 
" There is a mail train out of here at three o'clock." 

" All right," said Hurstwood. " What time does that 
get to Detroit? " 

He was thinking if he could only get there and cross 
the river into Canada, he could take his time about getting 
to Montreal. He was relieved to learn that it would reach 
there by noon. 

" Mayhew won't open the safe till nine," he thought. 
" They can't get on my track before noon." 

Then he thought of Carrie. With what speed must he 
get her, if 'he got her at all. She would have to come 
along. He jumped into the nearest cab standing by. 

" To Ogden Place," he said sharply. " I'll give you a 
dollar more if you make good time." 

The cabby beat his horse into a sort of imitation gallop, 
which was fairly fast, however. On the way Hurstwood 
thought what to do. Reaching the number, he hurried 
up the steps and did not spare the bell in waking the 
servant. 

" Is Mrs. Drouet in? " be asked. 

" Yes," said the astonished girl. 

" Tell her to dress and come to the door at once. Her 
husband is in the hospital, injured, and wants to see her." 

The servant girl hurried upstairs, convinced by the 
man's strained and emphatic manner. 

"What!" said Carrie, lighting the gas and searching 
for her clothes. 

" Mr. Drouet is hurt and in the hospital. He wants to 
see you. The cab's downstairs." 

Carrie dressed very rapidly, and soon appeared below, 
forgetting everything save the necessities. 



SISTER CARRIE 29 1 

" Drouet is hurt," said Hurstwood quickly. " He 
wants to see you. Come quickly." 

Carrie was so bewildered that she swallowed the whole 
story. 

" Get in," said Hurstwood, helping her and jumping 
after. 

The cabby began to turn the horse around. 

" Michigan Central depot," he said, standing up and 
speaking so low that Carrie could not hear, " as fast as 
you can go." 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

A PILGRIM, AN OUTLAW: THE SPIRIT DETAINED 

The cab had not travelled a short block before Carrie, 
settling herself and thoroughly waking in the night at- 
mosphere, asked : 

" What's the matter with him? Is he hurt badly? " 

" It isn't anything very serious," Hurstwood said 
solemnly. He was very much disturbed over his own 
situation, and now that he had Carrie with him, he only 
wanted to get safely out of reach of the law. There- 
fore he was in no mood for anything save such words 
as would further his plans distinctly. 

Carrie did not forget that there was something to be 
settled between her and Hurstwood, but the thought was 
ignored in her agitation. The one thing was to finish 
this strange pilgrimage. 

"Where is he?" 

" Way out on the South Side," said Hurstwood. 
" We'll have to take the train. It's the quickest way." 

Carrie said nothing, and the horse gambolled on. The 
weirdness of the city by night held her attention. She 
looked at the long receding rows of lamps and studied the 
dark, silent houses. 

" How did he hurt himself? " she asked — meaning what 
was the nature of his injuries. Hurstwood understood. 
He hated to lie any more than necessary, and yet he 
wanted no protests until he was out of danger. 

" I don't know exactly," he said. " They just called me 



SISTER CARRIE 293 

up to go and get you and bring you out. They said there 
wasn't any need for alarm, but that I shouldn't fail to 
bring you." 

The man's serious manner convinced Carrie, and she 
became silent, wondering. 

Hurstwood examined his watch and urged the man to 
hurry. For one in so delicate a position he was exceed- 
ingly cool. He could only think of how needful it was 
to make the train and get quietly away. Carrie seemed 
quite tractable, and he congratulated himself. 

In due time they reached the depot, and after helping 
her out he handed the man a five-dollar bill and hurried 
on. 

" You wait here," he said to Carrie, when they reached 
the waiting-room, " while I get the tickets." 

" Have I much time to catch that train for Detroit? " 
he asked of the agent. 

" Four minutes," said the latter. 

He paid for two tickets as circumspectly as possible. 

" Is it far? " said Carrie, as he hurried back. 

" Not very," he said. " We must get right in." 

He pushed her before him at the gate, stood between 
her and the ticket man while the latter punched their 
tickets, so that she could not see, and then hurried after. 

There was a long line of express and passenger cars 
and one or two common day coaches. As the train had 
only recently been made up and few passengers were 
expected, there were only one or two brakemen waiting. 
They entered the rear day coach and sat down. Almost 
immediately, " All aboard," resounded faintly from the 
outside, and the train started. 

Carrie began to think it was a little bit curious — this go- 
ing to a depot — but said nothing. The whole incident was 
so out of the natural that she did not attach too much 
weight to anything she imagined. 



294 SISTER CARRIE 

"How have you been ?" asked Hurstwood gently, for 
he now breathed easier. 

" Very well," said Carrie, who was so disturbed that 
she could not bring a proper attitude to bear in the mat- 
ter. She was still nervous to reach Drouet and see what 
could be the matter. Hurstwood contemplated her and 
felt this. He was not disturbed that it should be so. He 
did not trouble because she was moved sympathetically 
in the matter. It was one of the qualities in her which 
pleased him exceedingly. He was only thinking how he 
should explain. Even this was not the most serious thing 
in his mind, however. His own deed and present flight 
were the great shadows which weighed upon him. 

" What a fool I was to do that," he said over and over. 
"What a mistake! " 

In his sober senses, he could scarcely realise that the 
thing had been done. He could not begin to feel that he 
was a fugitive from justice. He had often read of such 
things, and had thought they must be terrible, but now 
that the thing was upon him, he only sat and looked into 
the past. The future was a thing which concerned the 
Canadian line. He wanted to reach that. As for the 
rest, he surveyed his actions for the evening, and counted 
them parts of a great mistake. 

" Still," he said, " what could I have done? " 

Then he would decide to make the best of it, and would 
begin to do so by starting the whole inquiry over again. 
It was a fruitless, harassing round, and left him in a queer 
mood to deal with the proposition he had in the presence 
of Carrie. 

The train clacked through the yards along the lake 
front, and ran rather slowly to Twenty-fourth Street. 
Brakes and signals were visible without. The engine gave 
short calls with its whistle, and frequently the bell rang. 
Several brakemen came through, bearing lanterns. They 



SISTER CARRIE 295 

were locking the vestibules and putting the cars in order 
for a long run. 

Presently it began to gain speed, and Carrie saw the 
silent streets flashing by in rapid succession. The engine 
also began its whistle-calls of four parts, with which it 
signalled danger to important crossings. 

" Is it very far? " asked Carrie. 

" Not so very," said Hurstwood. He could hardly re- 
press a smile at her simplicity. He wanted to explain and 
conciliate her, but he also wanted to be well out of 
Chicago. 

In the lapse of another half-hour it became apparent to 
Carrie that it was quite a run to wherever he was taking 
her, anyhow. 

" Is it in Chicago?" she asked nervously. They were 
now far beyond the city limits, and the train was scudding 
across the Indiana line at a great rate. 

" No," he said, " not where we are going." 

There was something in the way he said this which 
aroused her in an instant. 

Her pretty brow began to contract. 

"We are going to see Charlie, aren't we?" she 
asked. 

He felt that the time was up. An explanation might as 
well come now as later. Therefore, he shook his head 
in the most gentle negative. 

" What ? " said Carrie. She was nonplussed at the 
possibility of the errand being different from what she had 
thought. 

He only looked at her in the most kindly and mollifying 
way. 

" Well, where are you taking me, then? " she asked, her 
voice showing the quality of fright. 

" I'll tell you, Carrie, if you'll be quiet. I want you to 
come along with me to another city." 



296 SISTER CARRIE 

" Oh," said Carrie, her voice rising into a weak cry. 
" Let me off. I don't want to go with you." 

She was quite appalled at the man's audacity. This 
was something which had never for a moment entered her 
head. Her one thought now was to get off and away. 
If only the flying train could be stopped, the terrible trick 
would be amended. 

She arose and tried to push out into the aisle — any- 
where. She knew she had to do something. Hurstwood 
laid a gentle hand on her. 

" Sit still, Carrie," he said. " Sit still. It won't do you 
any good to get up here. Listen to me and I'll tell you 
what I'll do. Wait a moment." 

She was pushing at his knees, but he only pulled her 
back. No one saw this little altercation, for very few 
persons were in the car, and they were attempting to doze. 

" I won't," said Carrie, who was, nevertheless, comply- 
ing against her will. " Let me go," she said. " How 
dare you? " and large tears began to gather in her eyes. 

Hurstwood was now fully aroused to the immediate 
difficulty, and ceased to think of his own situation. He 
must do something with this girl, or she would cause him 
trouble. He tried the art of persuasion with all his 
powers aroused. 

" Look here now* Carrie," he said, " you mustn't act 
this way. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I don't 
want to do anything to make you feel bad." 

"Oh," sobbed Carrie, "oh, oh— 00— o! " 

" There, there," he said, " you mustn't cry. Won't you 
listen to me? Listen to me a minute, and I'll tell you 
why I came to do this thing. I couldn't help it. I assure 
you I couldn't. Won't you listen? " 

Her sobs disturbed him so that he was quite sure she 
did not hear a word he said. 

" Won't you listen? " he asked. 



SISTER CARRIE 297 

" No, I won't," said Carrie, flashing up. " I want you 
to take me out of this, or I'll tell the conductor. I won't 
go with you. It's a shame," and again sobs of fright cut 
off her desire for expression. 

Hurstwood listened with some astonishment. He felt 
that she had just cause for feeling as she did, and yet he 
wished that he could straighten this thing out quickly. 
Shortly the conductor would come through for the tickets. 
He wanted no noise, no trouble of any kind. Before 
everything he must make her quiet. 

" You couldn't get out until the train stops again," said 
Hurstwood. " It won't be very long until we reach an- 
other station. You can get out then if you want to. I 
won't stop you. All I want you to do is to listen a mo- 
ment. You'll let me tell you, won't you? " 

Carrie seemed not to listen. She only turned her head 
toward the window, where outside all was black. The 
train was speeding with steady grace across the fields and 
through patches of wood. The long whistles came with 
sad, musical effect as the lonely woodland crossings were 
approached. 

Now the conductor entered the car and took up the one 
or two fares that had been added at Chicago. He ap- 
proached Hurstwood, who handed out the tickets. Poised 
as she was to act, Carrie made no move. She did not 
look about. 

When the conductor had gone again Hurstwood felt 
relieved. 

" You're angry at me because I deceived you," he 
said. " I didn't mean to, Carrie. As I live I didn't. I 
couldn't help it. I couldn't stay away from you after 
the first time I saw you." 

He was ignoring the last deception as something that 
might go by the board. He wanted to convince her that 
his wife could no longer be a factor in their relationship. 



298 SISTER CARRIE 

The money he had stolen he tried to shut out of his 
mind. 

" Don't talk to me," said Carrie, " I hate you. I want 
you to go away from me. I am going to get out at the 
very next station." 

She was in a tremble of excitement and opposition as 
she spoke. 

" All right," he said, " but you'll hear me out, won't 
you? After all you have said about loving me, you might 
hear me. I don't want to do you any harm. I'll give 
you the money to go back with when you go. I merely 
want to tell you, Carrie. You can't stop me from loving 
you, whatever you may think." 

He looked at her tenderly, but received no reply. 

" You think I have deceived you badly, but I haven't. 
I didn't do it willingly. I'm through with my wife. She 
hasn't any claims on me. I'll never see her any more. 
That's why I'm here to-night. That's why I came and 
got you." 

" You said Charlie was hurt," said Carrie, savagely. 
" You deceived me. You've been deceiving me all the 
time, and now you want to force me to run away with 
you." 

She was so excited that she got up and tried to get by 
him again. He let her, and she took another seat. Then 
he followed. 

" Don't run away from me, Carrie," he said gently. 
" Let me explain. If you will only hear me out you will 
see where I stand. I tell you my wife is nothing to me. 
She hasn't been anything for years or I wouldn't have 
ever come near you. I'm going to get a divorce just as 
soon as I can. I'll never see her again. I'm done with 
all that. You're the only person I want. If I can have 
you I won't ever think of another woman again." 

Carrie heard all this in a very ruffled state. It sounded 



SISTER CARRIE 299 

sincere enough, however, despite all he had done. There 
was a tenseness in Hurstwood's voice and manner which 
could but have some effect. She did not want anything 
to do with him. He was married, he had deceived her 
once, and now again, and she thought him terrible. Still 
there is something in such daring and power which is 
fascinating to a woman, especially if she can be made to 
feel that it is all prompted by love of her. 

The progress of the train was having a great deal to do 
with the solution of this difficult situation. The speeding 
wheels and disappearing country put Chicago farther and 
farther behind. Carrie could feel that she was being 
borne a long distance off — that the engine was making 
an almost through run to some distant city. She felt at 
times as if she could cry out and make such a row that 
some one would come to her aid; at other times it seemed 
an almost useless thing — so far was she from any aid, ho 
matter what she did. All the while Hurstwood was en- 
deavouring to formulate his plea in such a way that it 
would strike home and bring her into sympathy with 
him. 

" I was simply put where I didn't know what else to do." 

Carrie deigned no suggestion of hearing this. 

" When I saw you wouldn't come unless I could marry 
you, I decided to put everything else behind me and get 
you to come away with me. I'm going off now to an- 
other city. I want to go to Montreal for a while, and 
then anywhere you want to. We'll go and live in New 
York, if you say." 

" I'll not have anything to do with you," said Carrie. 
" I want to get off this train. Where are we going? " 

" To Detroit," said Hurstwood. 

" Oh ! " said Carrie, in a burst of anguish. So distant 
and definite a point seemed to increase the difficulty. 

" Won't you come along with me? " he said, as if there 



3 oo SISTER CARRIE 

was great danger that she would not. " You won't need 
to do anything but travel with me. I'll not trouble you 
in any way. You can see Montreal and New York, and 
then if you don't want to stay you can go back. It will 
be better than trying to go back to-night." 

The first gleam of fairness shone in this proposition for 
Carrie. It seemed a plausible thing to do, much as she 
feared his opposition if she tried to carry it out. Mon- 
treal and New York! Even now she was speeding to- 
ward those great, strange lands, and could see them if she 
liked. She thought, but made no sign. 

Hurstwood thought he saw a shade of compliance in 
this. He redoubled his ardour. 

" Think," he said, " what I've given up. I can't go 
back to Chicago any more. I've got to stay away and 
live alone now, if you don't come with me. You won't 
go back on me entirely, will you, Carrie? " 

" I don't want you to talk to me," she answered forcibly. 

Hurstwood kept silent for a while. 

Carrie felt the train to be slowing down. It was the 
moment to act if she was to act at all. She stirred un- 
easily. 

" Don't think of going, Carrie," he said. " If you ever 
cared for me at all, come along and let's start right. I'll 
do whatever you say. I'll marry you, or I'll let you go 
back. Give yourself time to think it over. I wouldn't 
have wanted you to come if I hadn't loved you. I tell 
you, Carrie, before God, I can't live without you. I 
won't!" 

There was the tensity of fierceness in the man's plea 
which appealed deeply to her sympathies. It was a dis- 
solving fire which was actuating him now. He was lov- 
ing her too intensely to think of giving her up in this, 
his hour of distress. He clutched her hand nervously 
and pressed it with all the force of an appeal. 



SISTER CARRIE 



301 



The train was now all but stopped. It was running by 
some cars on a side track. Everything outside was dark 
and dreary. A few sprinkles on the window began to 
indicate that it was raining. Carrie hung in a quandary, 
balancing between decision and helplessness. Now the 
train stopped, and she was listening to his plea. The 
engine backed a few feet and all was still. 

She wavered, totally unable to make a move. Minute 
after minute slipped by and still she hesitated, he pleading. 

" Will you let me come back if I want to? " she asked, 
as if she now had the upper hand and her companion was 
utterly subdued. 

" Of course," he answered, " you know I will." 

Carrie only listened as one who has granted a tem- 
porary amnesty. She began to feel as if the matter were 
in her hands entirely. 

The train was again in rapid motion. Hurstwood 
changed the subject. 

" Aren't you very tired ? " he said. 

" No," she answered. 

" Won't you let me get you a berth in the sleeper? " 

She shook her head, though for all her distress and his 
trickery she was beginning to notice what she had al- 
ways felt — his thoughtfulness. 

" Oh, yes," he said, " you will feel so much better." 

She shook her head. 

" Let me fix my coat for you, anyway," and he arose 
and arranged his light coat in a comfortable position 
to receive her head. 

" There," he said tenderly, " now see if you can't rest 
a little." He could have kissed her for her compliance. 
He took his seat beside her and thought a moment. 

" I believe we're in for a heavy rain," he said. 

" So it looks," said Carrie, whose nerves were quiet- 
ing under the sound of the rain drops, driven by a gusty 



302 SISTER CARRIE 

wind, as the train swept on frantically through the 
shadow to a newer world. 

The fact that he had in a measure mollified Carrie was 
a source of satisfaction to Hurstwood, but it furnished 
only the most temporary relief. Now that her opposition 
was out of the way, he had all of his time to devote to the 
consideration of his own error. 

His condition was bitter in the extreme, for he did not 
want the miserable sum he had stolen. He did not want 
to be a thief. That sum or any other could never com- 
pensate for the state which he had thus foolishly doffed. 
It could not give him back his host of friends, his name, 
his house and family, nor Carrie, as he had meant to have 
her. He was shut out from Chicago — from his easy, com- 
fortable state. He had robbed himself of his dignity, his 
merry meetings, his pleasant evenings. And for what? 
The more he thought of it the more unbearable it became. 
He began to think that he would try and restore himself 
to his old state. He would return the miserable thiev- 
ings of the night and explain. Perhaps Moy would 
understand. Perhaps they would forgive him and let 
him come back. 

By noontime the train rolled into Detroit and he began 
to feel exceedingly nervous. The police must be on his 
track by now. They had probably notified all the police 
of the big cities, and detectives would be watching for him. 
He remembered instances in which defaulters had been 
captured. Consequently, he breathed heavily and paled 
somewhat. His hands felt as if they must have some- 
thing to do. He simulated interest in several scenes with- 
out which he did not feel. He repeatedly beat his foot 
upon the floor. 

Carrie noticed his agitation, but said nothing. She had 
no idea what it meant or that it was important. 

He wondered now why he had not asked whether this 



SISTER CARRIE 



303 



train went on through to Montreal or some Canadian 
point. Perhaps he could have saved time. He jumped up 
and sought the conductor. 

" Does any part of this train go to Montreal? " he asked. 

" Yes, the next sleeper back does." 

He would have asked more, but it did not seem wise, 
so he decided to inquire at the depot. 

The train rolled into the yards, clanging and puffing. 

" I think we had better go right on through to Mon- 
treal," he said to Carrie. " I'll see what the connections 
are when we get off." 

He was exceedingly nervous, but did his best to put on 
a calm exterior. Carrie only looked at him with large, 
troubled eyes. She was drifting mentally, unable to say 
to herself what to do. 

The train stopped and Hurstwood led the way out. 
He looked warily around him, pretending to look after 
Carrie. Seeing nothing that indicated studied observa- 
tion, he made his way to the ticket office. 

" The next train for Montreal leaves when ? " he asked. 

" In twenty minutes," said the man. 

He bought two tickets and Pullman berths. Then he 
hastened back to Carrie. 

" We go right out again," he said, scarcely noticing 
that Carrie looked tired and weary. 

" I wish I was out of all this," she exclaimed gloomily. 

" You'll feel better when we reach Montreal," he 
said. 

" I haven't an earthly thing with me," said Carrie ; 
" not even a handkerchief." 

" You can buy all you want as soon as you get there, 
dearest," he explained. " You can call in a dressmaker." 

Now the crier called the train ready and they got on. 
Hurstwood breathed a sigh of relief as it started. There 
was a short run to the river, and there they were ferried 



304 



SISTER CARRIE 



over. They had barely pulled the train off the ferry-boat 
when he settled back with a sigh. 

" It won't be so very long now," he said, remembering 
her in his relief. " We get there the first thing in the 
morning." 

Carrie scarcely deigned to reply. 

" I'll see if there is a dining-car," he added. " I'm 
hungry." 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE SOLACE OF TRAVEL: THE BOATS OF THE SEA 

To the untravelled, territory other than their own fa- 
miliar heath is invariably fascinating. Next to love, it is 
the one thing which solaces and delights. Things new 
are too important to be neglected, and mind, which is a 
mere reflection of sensory impressions, succumbs to the 
flood of objects. Thus lovers are forgotten, sorrows laid 
aside, death hidden from view. There is a world of ac- 
cumulated feeling back of the trite dramatic expression — 
" I am going away." 

As Carrie looked out upon the flying scenery she al- 
most forgot that she had been tricked into this long jour- 
ney against her will and that she was without the neces- 
sary apparel for travelling. She quite forgot Hurst- 
wood's presence at times, and looked away to homely 
farmhouses and cosey cottages in villages with wondering 
eyes. It was an interesting world to her. Her life had just 
begun. She did not feel herself defeated at all. Neither 
was she blasted in hope. The great city held much. Pos- 
sibly she would come out of bondage into freedom — who 
knows? Perhaps she would be happy. These thoughts 
raised her above the level of erring. She was saved in 
that she was hopeful. 

The following morning the train pulled safely into 
Montreal and they stepped down, Hurstwood glad to be 
out of danger, Carrie wondering at the novel atmos- 
phere of the northern city. Long before, Hurstwood 
had been here, and now he remembered the name of 



306 SISTER CARRIE 

the hotel at which he had stopped. As they came out 
of the main entrance of the depot he heard it called 
anew by a busman. 

" We'll go right up and get rooms," he said. 

At the clerk's office Hurstwood swung the register 
about while the clerk came forward. He was thinking 
what name he would put down. With the latter be- 
fore him he found no time for hesitation. A name 
he had seen out of the car window came swiftly to him. 
It was pleasing enough. With an easy hand he wrote, 
" G. W. Murdock and wife." It was the largest con- 
cession to necessity he felt like making. His initials 
he could not spare. 

When they were shown their room Carrie saw at 
once that he had secured her a lovely chamber. 

" You have a bath there," said he. " Now you can 
clean up when you get ready." 

Carrie went over and looked out the window, while 
Hurstwood looked at himself in the glass. He felt 
dusty and unclean. He had no trunk, no change of 
linen, not even a hair-brush. 

" I'll ring for soap and towels," he said, " and send 
you up a hair-brush. Then you can bathe and get 
ready for breakfast. I'll go for a shave and come back 
and get you, and then we'll go out and look for some 
clothes for you." 

He smiled good-naturedly as he said this. 

" All right," said Carrie. 

She sat down in one of the rocking-chairs, while 
Hurstwood waited for the boy, who soon knocked. 

" Soap, towels, and a pitcher of ice-water." 

" Yes, sir." 

" I'll go now," he said to Carrie, coming toward her 
and holding out his hands, but she did not move to take 
them. 



SISTER CARRIE 



307 



" You're not mad at me, are you ? " he asked softly. 

" Oh, no ! " she answered, rather indifferently. 

" Don't you care for me at all ? " 

She made no answer, but looked steadily toward the 
window. 

"Don't you think you could love me a little?" he 
pleaded, taking one of her hands, which she endeav- 
oured to draw away. " You once said you did." 

" What made you deceive me so? " asked Carrie. 

" I couldn't help it," he said, " I wanted you too 
much." 

" You didn't have any right to want me," she an- 
swered, striking cleanly home. 

" Oh, well, Carrie," he answered, " here I am. It's 
too late now. Won't you try and care for me a 
little?" 

He looked rather worsted in thought as he stood be- 
fore her. 

She shook her head negatively. 

" Let me start all over again. Be my wife from to- 
day on." 

Carrie rose up as if to step away, he holding her hand. 
Now he slipped his arm about her and she struggled, 
but in vain. He held her quite close. Instantly there 
flamed up in his body the all-compelling desire. His 
affection took an ardent form. 

" Let me go," said Carrie, who was folded close to 
him. 

" Won't you love me ? " he said. " Won't you be mine 
from now on ? " 

Carrie had never been ill-disposed toward him. Only 
a moment before she had been listening with some com- 
placency, remembering her old affection for him. He 
was so handsome, so daring! 

Now, however, this feeling had changed to one of 



3 o8 SISTER CARRIE 

opposition, which rose feebly. It mastered her for a 
moment, and then, held close as she was, began to 
wane. Something else in her spoke. This man, to 
whose bosom she was being pressed, was strong; he 
was passionate, he loved her, and she was alone. If 
she did not turn to him — accept of his love — where 
else might she go? Her resistance half dissolved in 
the flood of his strong feeling. 

She found him lifting her head and looking into her 
eyes. What magnetism there was she could never 
know. His many sins, however, were for the moment 
all forgotten. 

He pressed her closer and kissed her, and she felt 
that further opposition was useless. 

" Will you marry me ? " she asked, forgetting how. 

" This very day," he said, with all delight. 

Now the hall-boy pounded on the door and he re- 
leased his hold upon her regretfully. 

" You get ready now, will you," he said, " at once? " 

" Yes," she answered. 

" I'll be back in three-quarters of an hour." 

Carrie, flushed and excited, moved away as he ad- 
mitted the boy. 

Below stairs, he halted in the lobby to look for a bar- 
ber shop. For the moment, he was in fine feather. His 
recent victory over Carrie seemed to atone for much he 
had endured during the last few days. Life seemed 
worth fighting for. This eastward flight from all 
things customary and attached seemed as if it might 
have happiness in store. The storm showed a rainbow 
at the end of which might be a pot of gold. 

He was about to cross to a little red-and-white 
striped bar which was fastened up beside a door when 
a voice greeted him familiarly. Instantly his heart 
sank. 



SISTER CARRIE 309 

" Why, hello, George, old man ! " said the voice. 
" What are you doing down here ? " 

Hurstwood was already confronted, and recognised 
his friend Kenny, the stock-broker. 
■ " Just attending to a little private matter," he an- 
swered, his mind working like a key-board of a tele- 
phone station. This man evidently did not know — he 
had not read the papers. 

" Well, it seems strange to see you way up here," 
said Mr. Kenny genially. "Stopping here?" 

" Yes," said Hurstwood uneasily, thinking of his 
handwriting on the register. 

" Going to be in town long? "■ 

" No, only a day or so." 

" Is that so? Had your breakfast?" 

" Yes," said Hurstwood, lying blandly. " I'm just 
going for a shave." 

" Won't you come have a drink? " 

" Not until afterwards," said the ex-manager. " I'll 
see you later. Are you stopping here? " 

" Yes," said Mr. Kenny, and then, turning the word 
again, added: "How are things out in Chicago?" 

" About the same as usual," said Hurstwood, smiling 
genially. 

"Wife with you?" 

" No." 

" Well, I must see more of you to-day. I'm just 
going in here for breakfast. Come in when you're 
through." 

" I will," said Hurstwood, moving away. The whole 
conversation was a trial to him. It seemed to add com- 
plications with every word. This man called up a 
thousand memories. He represented everything he 
had left. Chicago, his wife, the elegant resort — all 
these were in his greeting and inquiries. And here he 



3io 



SISTER CARRIE 



was in this same hotel expecting to confer with him, 
unquestionably waiting to have a good time with him. 
All at once the Chicago papers would arrive. The local 
papers would have accounts in them this very day. He 
forgot his triumph with Carrie in the possibility of 
soon being known for what he was, in this man's eyes, 
a safe-breaker. He could have groaned as he went 
into the barber shop. He decided to escape and seek 
a more secluded hotel. 

Accordingly, when he came out he was glad to see 
the lobby clear, and hastened toward the stairs. He 
would get Carrie and go out by the ladies' entrance. 
They would have breakfast in some more inconspicuous 
place. 

Across the lobby, however, another individual was 
surveying him. He was of a commonplace Irish type, 
small of stature, cheaply dressed, and with a head that 
seemed a smaller edition of some huge ward politi- 
cian's. This individual had been evidently talking with 
the clerk, but now he surveyed the ex-manager keenly. 

Hurstwood felt the long-range examination and rec- 
ognised the type. Instinctively he felt that the man 
was a detective — that he was being watched. He hur- 
ried across, pretending not to notice, but in his mind 
was a world of thoughts. What would happen now? 
What could these people do? He began to trouble 
concerning the extradition laws. He did not under- 
stand them absolutely. Perhaps he could be arrested. 
Oh, if Carrie should find out ! Montreal was too warm 
for him. He began to long to be out of it. 

Carrie had bathed and was waiting when he arrived. 
She looked refreshed — more delightful than ever, but 
reserved. Since he had gone she had resumed some- 
what of her cold attitude towards him. Love was not 
blazing in her heart. He felt it, and his troubles seemed 



SISTER CARRIE 311 

increased. He could not take her in his arms ; he did 
not even try. Something about her forbade it. In 
part his opinion was the result of his own experiences 
and reflections below stairs. 

" You're ready, are you ? " he said kindly. 

" Yes," she answered. 

" We'll go out for breakfast. This place down here 
doesn't appeal to me very much." 

" All right," said Carrie. 

They went out, and at the corner the commonplace 
Irish individual was standing, eyeing him. Hurst- 
wood could scarcely refrain from showing that he knew 
of this chap's presence. The insolence in the fellow's 
eye was galling. Still they passed, and he explained to 
Carrie concerning the city. Another restaurant was 
not long in showing itself, and here they entered. 

" What a queer town this is," said Carrie, who mar- 
velled at it solely because it was not like Chicago. 

" It isn't as lively as Chicago," said Hurstwood. 
"Don't you like it?" 

" No," said Carrie, whose feelings were already local- 
ised in the great Western city. 

" Well, it isn't as interesting," said Hurstwood. 

"What's here?" asked Carrie, wondering at his 
choosing to visit this town. 

" Nothing much," returned Hurstwood. " It's quite 
a resort. There's some pretty scenery about here." 

Carrie listened, but with a feeling of unrest. There 
was much about her situation which destroyed the pos- 
sibility of appreciation. 

" We won't stay here long," said Hurstwood, who 
was now really glad to note her dissatisfaction. " You 
pick out your clothes as soon as breakfast is over and 
we'll run down to New York soon. You'll like that. It's 
a lot more like a city than any place outside Chicago." 



3 i2 SISTER CARRIE 

He was really planning to slip out and away. He 
would see what these detectives would do — what move 
his employers at Chicago would make — then he would 
slip away — down to New York, where it was easy to 
hide. He knew enough about that city to know that 
its mysteries and possibilities of mystification were 
infinite. 

The more he thought, however, the more wretched 
his situation became. He saw that getting here did 
not exactly clear up the ground. The firm would prob- 
ably employ detectives to watch him — Pinkerton men 
or agents of Mooney and Boland. They might arrest 
him the moment he tried to leave Canada. So he might 
be compelled to remain here months, and in what a 
state ! 

Back at the hotel Hurstwood was anxious and yet 
fearful to see the morning papers. He wanted to know 
how far the news of his criminal deed had spread. So he 
told Carrie he would be up in a few moments, and went 
to secure and scan the dailies. No familiar or sus- 
picious faces were about, and yet he did not like reading 
in the lobby, so he sought the main parlour on the floor 
above and, seated by a window there, looked them over. 
Very little was given to his crime, but it was there, 
several " sticks " in all, among all the riffraff of tele- 
graphed murders, accidents, marriages, and other news. 
He wished, half sadly, that he could undo it all. Every 
moment of his time in this far-off abode of safety but 
added to his feeling that he had made a great mistake. 
There could have been an easier way out if he had only 
known. 

He left the papers before going to the room, thinking 
thus to keep them out of the hands of Carrie. 

" Well, how are you feeling? " he asked of her. She 
was engaged in looking out of the window. 



SISTER CARRIE 313 

" Oh, all right," she answered. 

He came over, and was about to begin a conversation 
with her, when a knock came at their door. 

" Maybe it's one of my parcels," said Carrie. 

Hurstwood opened the door, outside of which stood 
the individual whom he had so thoroughly suspected. 

" You're Mr. Hurstwood, are you ? " said the latter, 
with a volume of affected shrewdness and assurance. 

" Yes," said Hurstwood calmly. He knew the type 
so thoroughly that some of his old familiar indifference 
to it returned. Such men as these were of the lowest 
stratum welcomed at the resort. He stepped out and 
closed the door. 

" Well, you know what I am here for, don't you ? " 
said the man confidentially. 

" I can guess," said Hurstwood softly. 

" Well, do you intend to try and keep the money? " 

" That's my affair," said Hurstwood grimly. 

" You can't do it, you know," said the detective, eye- 
ing him coolly. 

" Look here, my man," said Hurstwood authorita- 
tively, " you don't understand anything about this case, 
and I can't explain to you. Whatever I intend to do 
I'll do without advice from the outside. You'll have to 
excuse me." 

" Well, now, there's no use of your talking that way," 
said the man, " when you're in the hands of the police. 
We can make a lot of trouble for you if we want to. 
You're not registered right in this house, you haven't 
got your wife with you, and the newspapers don't know 
you're here yet. You might as well be reasonable." 

" What do you want to know ? " asked Hurstwood. 

" Whether you're going to send back that money or 
not." 

Hurstwood paused and studied the floor. 



314 



SISTER CARRIE 



" There's no use explaining to you about this," he 
said at last. " There's no use of your asking me. I'm 
no fool, you know. I know just what you can do and 
what you can't. You can create a lot of trouble if you 
want to. I know that all right, but it won't help you 
to get the money. Now, I've made up my mind what 
to do. I've already written Fitzgerald and Moy, so 
there's nothing I can say. You wait until you hear 
more from them." 

All the time he had been talking he had been moving 
away from the door, down the corridor, out of the 
hearing of Carrie. They were now near the end where 
the corridor opened into the large general parlour. 

" You won't give it up? " said the man. 

The words irritated Hurstwood greatly. Hot blood 
poured into his brain. Many thoughts formulated 
themselves. He was no thief. He didn't want the 
money. If he could only explain to Fitzgerald and 
Moy, maybe it would be all right again. 

" See here," he said, " there's no use my talking about 
this at all. I respect your power all right, but I'll have 
to deal with the people who know." 

" Well, you can't get out of Canada with it," said the 
man. 

" I don't want to get out," said Hurstwood. " When 
I get ready there'll be nothing to stop me for." 

He turned back, and the detective watched him 
closely. It seemed an intolerable thing. Still he went 
on and into the room. 

" Who was it? " asked Carrie. 

" A friend of mine from Chicago." 

The whole of this conversation was such a shock 
that, coming as it did after all the other worry of the 
past week, it sufficed to induce a deep gloom and moral 
revulsion in Hurstwood. What hurt him most was the 



SISTER CARRIE 315 

fact that he was being pursued as a thief. He began 
to see the nature of that social injustice which sees but 
one side — often but a single point in a long tragedy. 
All the newspapers noted but one thing, his taking the 
money. How and wherefore were but indifferently 
dealt with. All the complications which led up to it 
were unknown. He was accused without being under- 
stood. 

Sitting in his room with Carrie the same day, he de- 
cided to send the money back. He would write Fitz- 
gerald and Moy, explain all, and then send it by ex- 
press. Maybe they would forgive him. Perhaps they 
would ask him back. He would make good the false 
statement he had made about writing them. Then he 
would leave this peculiar town. 

For an hour he thought over this plausible statement 
of the tangle. He wanted to tell them about his wife, 
but couldn't. He finally narrowed it down to an asser- 
tion that he was light-headed from entertaining friends, 
had found the safe open, and having gone so far as to 
take the money out, had accidentally closed it. This act 
he regretted very much. He was sorry he had put them 
to so much trouble. He would undo what he could by 
sending the money back — the major portion of it. The 
remainder he would pay up as soon as he could. Was 
there any possibility of his being restored? This he 
only hinted at. 

The troubled state of the man's mind may be judged 
by the very construction of this letter. For the nonce 
he forgot what a painful thing it would be to resume his 
old place, even if it were given him. He forgot that he 
had severed himself from the past as by a sword, and 
that if he did manage to in some way reunite himself 
with it, the jagged line of separation and reunion would 
always show. He was always forgetting something — 



3 i6 SISTER CARRIE 

his wife, Carrie, his need of money, present situation, 
or something — and so did not reason clearly. Never- 
theless, he sent the letter, waiting a reply before send- 
ing the money. 

Meanwhile, he accepted his present situation with 
Carrie, getting what joy out of it he could. 

Out came the sun by noon, and poured a golden 
flood through their open windows. Sparrows were 
twittering. There were laughter and song in the air. 
Hurstwood could not keep his eyes from Carrie. She 
seemed the one ray of sunshine in all his trouble. Oh, 
if she would only love him wholly — only throw her 
arms around him in the blissful spirit in which he had 
seen her in the little park in Chicago — how happy he 
would be ! It would repay him ; it would show him 
that he had not lost all. He would not care. 

" Carrie," he said, getting up once and coming over 
to her, " are you going to stay with me from now on ? " 

She looked at him quizzically, but melted with sym- 
pathy as the value of the look upon his face forced itself 
upon her. It was love now, keen and strong — love en- 
hanced by difficulty and worry. She could not help 
smiling. 

" Let me be everything to you from now on," he said. 
" Don't make me worry any more. I'll be true to you. 
We'll go to New York and get a nice flat. I'll go into 
business again, and we'll be happy. Won't you be 
mine?" 

Carrie listened quite solemnly. There was no great 
passion in her, but the drift of things and this man's 
proximity created a semblance of affection. She felt 
rather sorry for him — a sorrow born of what had only 
recently been a great admiration. True love she had 
never felt for him. She would have known as much 
if she could have analysed her feelings, but this thing 



SISTER CARRIE 317 

which she now felt aroused by his great feeling broke 
down the barriers between them. 

" You'll stay with me, won't you? " he asked. 

" Yes," she said, nodding her head. 

He gathered her to himself, imprinting kisses upon 
her lips and cheeks. 

" You must marry me, though," she said. 

" I'll get a license to-day," he answered. 

"How? "she asked. 

" Under a new name," he answered. " I'll take a new 
name and live a new life. From now on I'm Murdock." 

" Oh, don't take that name," said Carrie. 

"Why not? "he said. 

" I don't like it." 

" Well, what shall I take? " he asked. 

" Oh, anything, only don't take that." 

He thought a while, still keeping his arms about her, 
and then said : 

" How would Wheeler do? " 

"That's all right," said Carrie. 

" Well, then, Wheeler," he said. " I'll get the li- 
cense this afternoon." 

They were married by a Baptist minister, the first divine 
they found convenient. 

At last the Chicago firm answered. It was by Mr. 
Moy's dictation. He was astonished that Hurstwood 
had done this ; very sorry that it had come about as it 
had. If the money were returned, they would not 
trouble to prosecute him, as they really bore him no 
ill-will. As for his returning, or their restoring him to 
his former position, they had not quite decided what 
the effect of it would be. They would think it over 
and correspond with him later, possibly, after a little 
time, and so on. 

The sum and substance of it was that there was no 



3 i8 SISTER CARRIE 

hope, and they wanted the money with the least trouble 
possible. Hurstwood read his doom. He decided to 
pay $9,500 to the agent whom they said they would 
send, keeping $1,300 for his own use. He telegraphed 
his acquiescence, explained to the representative who 
called at the hotel the same day, took a certificate of 
payment, and told Carrie to pack her trunk. He was 
slightly depressed over this newest move at the time 
he began to make it, but eventually restored himself. 
He feared that even yet he might be seized and taken 
back, so he tried to conceal his movements, but it was 
scarcely possible. He ordered Carrie's trunk sent to 
the depot, where he had it sent by express to New 
York. No one seemed to be observing him, but he left 
at night. He was greatly agitated lest at the first sta- 
tion across the border or at the depot in New York there 
should be waiting for him an officer of the law. 

Carrie, ignorant of his theft and his fears, enjoyed the 
entry into the latter city in the morning. The round 
green hills sentinelling the broad, expansive bosom of 
the Hudson held her attention by their beauty as the 
train followed the line of the stream. She had heard 
of the Hudson River, the great city of New York, and 
now she looked out, filling her mind with the wonder 
of it. 

As the train turned east at Spuyten Duyvil and fol- 
lowed the east bank of the Harlem River, Hurstwood 
nervously called her attention to the fact that they were 
on the edge of the city. After her experience with 
Chicago, she expected long lines of cars — a great high- 
way of tracks — and noted the difference. The sight 
of a few boats in the Harlem and more in the East River 
tickled her young heart. It was the first sign of the 
great sea. Next came a plain street with five-story 
brick flats, and then the train plunged into the tunnel. 



SISTER CARRIE 319 

" Grand Central Station ! " called the trainman, as, 
after a few minutes of darkness and smoke, daylight 
reappeared. Hurstwood arose and gathered up his 
small grip. He was screwed up to the highest tension. 
With Carrie he waited at the door and then dismounted. 
No one approached him, but he glanced furtively to and 
fro as he made for the street entrance. So excited was 
he that he forgot all about Carrie, who fell behind, won- 
dering at his self-absorption. As he passed through 
the depot proper the strain reached its climax and be- 
gan to wane. All at once he was on the sidewalk, and 
none but cabmen hailed him. He heaved a great breath 
and turned, remembering Carrie. 

" I thought you were going to run off and leave me," 
she said. 

" I was trying to remember which car takes us to the 
Gilsey," he answered. 

Carrie hardly heard him, so interested was she in the 
busy scene. 

" How large is New York ? " she asked. 

" Oh, a million or more," said Hurstwood. 

He looked around and hailed a cab, but he did so in 
a changed way. 

For the first time in years the thought that he must 
count these little expenses flashed through his mind. 
It was a disagreeable thing. 

He decided he would lose no time living in hotels 
but would rent a flat. Accordingly he told Carrie, and 
she agreed. 

" We'll look to-day, if you want to," she said. 

Suddenly he thought of his experience in Montreal. 
At the more important hotels he would be certain to 
meet Chicagoans whom he knew. He stood up and 
spoke to the driver. 

" Take me to the Belford," he said, knowing it to be 



3 20 SISTER CARRIE 

less frequented by those whom he knew. Then he sat 
down. 

"Where is the residence part?" asked Carrie, who 
did not take the tall five-story walls on either hand to 
be the abodes of families. 

" Everywhere," said Hurstwood, who knew the city 
fairly well. " There are no lawns in New York. All 
these are houses." 

" Well, then, I don't like it," said Carrie, who was 
coming to have a few opinions of her own. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE KINGDOM OF GREATNESS: THE PILGRIM ADREAM 

Whatever a man like Hurstwood could be in Chicago, 
it is very evident that he would be but an inconspicuous 
drop in an ocean like New York. In Chicago, whose 
population still ranged about 500,000, millionaires were 
not numerous. The rich had not become so conspicu- 
ously rich as to drown all moderate incomes in obscu- 
rity. The attention of the inhabitants was not so dis- 
tracted by local celebrities in the dramatic, artistic, 
social, and religious fields as to shut the well-posi- 
tioned man from view. In Chicago the two roads to 
distinction were politics and trade. In New York the 
roads were any one of a half-hundred, and each had 
been diligently pursued by hundreds, so that celebrities 
were numerous. The sea was already full of whales. 
A common fish must needs disappear wholly from view 
— remain unseen. In other words, Hurstwood was 
nothing. 

There is a more subtle result of such a situation as 
this, which, though not always taken into account, pro- 
duces the tragedies of the world. The great create an 
atmosphere which reacts badly upon the small. This 
atmosphere is easily and quickly felt. Walk among 
the magnificent residences, the splendid equipages, the 
gilded shops, restaurants, resorts of all kinds; scent 
the flowers, the silks, the wines ; drink of the laughter 
springing from the soul of luxurious content, of the 



322 SISTER CARRIE 

glances which gleam like light from defiant spears ; feel 
the quality of the smiles which cut like glistening 
swords and of strides born of place, and you shall know 
of what is the atmosphere of the high and mighty. 
Little use to argue that of such is not the kingdom of 
greatness, but so long as the world is attracted by this 
and the human heart views this as the one desirable 
realm which it must attain, so long, to that heart, will 
this remain the realm of greatness. So long, also, will 
the atmosphere of this realm work its desperate results 
in the soul of man. It is like a chemical reagent. One 
day of it, like one drop of the other, will so affect and 
discolour the views, the aims, the desire of the mind, 
that it will thereafter remain forever dyed. A day of 
it to the untried mind is like opium to the untried body. 
A craving is set up which, if gratified, shall eternally 
result in dreams and death. Aye ! dreams unfulfilled — 
gnawing, luring, idle phantoms which beckon and lead, 
beckon and lead, until death and dissolution dissolve 
their power and restore us blind to nature's heart. 

A man of Hurstwood's age and temperament is not 
subject to the illusions and burning desires of youth, 
but neither has he the strength of hope which gushes 
as a fountain in the heart of youth. Such an atmos- 
phere could not incite in him the cravings of a boy of 
eighteen, but in so far as they were excited, the lack of 
hope made them proportionately bitter. • He could not 
fail to notice the signs of affluence and luxury on every 
hand. He had been to New York before and knew the 
resources of its folly. In part it was an awesome place 
to him, for here gathered all that he most respected on 
this earth — wealth, place, and fame. The majority of the 
celebrities with whom he had tipped glasses in his day 
as manager hailed from this self-centred and populous 
spot. The most inviting stories of pleasure and luxury 



SISTER CARRIE 



323 



had been told of places and individuals here. He knew 
it to be true that unconsciously he was brushing elbows 
with fortune the livelong day; that a hundred or five 
hundred thousand gave no one the privilege of living 
more than comfortably in so wealthy a place. Fashion 
and pomp required more ample sums, so that the poor 
man was nowhere. All this he realised, now quite 
sharply, as he faced the city, cut off from his friends, 
despoiled of his modest fortune, and even his name, and 
forced to begin the battle for place and comfort all over 
again. He was not old, but he was not so dull but that 
he could feel he soon would be. Of a sudden, then, this 
show of fine clothes, place, and power took on peculiar 
significance. It was emphasised by contrast with his 
own distressing state. 

And it was distressing. He soon found that freedom 
from fear of arrest was not the sine qua non of his exist- 
ence. That danger dissolved, the next necessity be- 
came the grievous thing. The paltry sum of thirteen 
hundred and some odd dollars set against the need of 
rent, clothing, food, and pleasure for years to come was 
a spectacle little calculated to induce peace of mind in 
one who had been accustomed to spend five times that 
sum in the course of a year. He thought upon the sub- 
ject rather actively the first few days he was in New 
York, and decided that he must act quickly. As a con- 
sequence, he consulted the business opportunities ad- 
vertised in the morning papers and began investiga- 
tions on his own account. 

That was not before he had become settled, how- 
ever. Carrie and he went looking for a flat, as ar- 
ranged, and found one in Seventy-eighth Street near 
Amsterdam Avenue. It was a five-story building, 
and their flat was on the third floor. Owing to the 
fact that the street was not yet built up solidly, it 



324 SISTER CARRIE 

was possible to see east to the green tops of the trees 
in Central Park and west to the broad waters of the 
Hudson, a glimpse of which was to be had out of the 
west windows. For the privilege of six rooms and 
a bath, running in a straight line, they were compelled 
to pay thirty-five dollars a month — an average, and yet 
exorbitant, rent for a home at the time. Carrie noticed 
the difference between the size of the rooms here and 
in Chicago and mentioned it. 

" You'll not find anything better, dear," said Hurst- 
wood, " unless you go into one of the old-fashioned 
houses, and then you won't have any of these con- 
veniences." 

Carrie picked out the new abode because of its new- 
ness and bright wood-work. It was one of the very 
new ones supplied with steam heat, which was a 
great advantage. The stationary range, hot and cold 
water, dumb-waiter, speaking tubes, and call-bell for 
the janitor pleased her very much. She had enough 
of the instincts of a housewife to take great satisfaction 
in these things. 

Hurstwood made arrangement with one of the instal- 
ment houses whereby they furnished the flat complete 
and accepted fifty dollars down and ten dollars a month. 
He then had a little plate, bearing the name G. W. 
Wheeler, made, which he placed on his letter-box in 
the hall. It sounded exceedingly odd to Carrie to be 
called Mrs. Wheeler by the janitor, but in time she 
became used to it and looked upon the name as her 
own. 

These house details settled, Hurstwood visited some 
of the advertised opportunities to purchase an interest 
in some flourishing down-town bar. After the palatial 
resort in Adams Street, he could not stomach the com- 
monplace saloons which he found advertised. He lost 



SISTER CARRIE 325 

a number of days looking up these and finding them 
disagreeable. He did, however, gain considerable 
knowledge by talking, for he discovered the influence 
of Tammany Hall and the value of standing in with 
the police. The most profitable and flourishing places 
he found to be those which conducted anything but a 
legitimate business, such as that controlled by Fitz- 
gerald and Moy. Elegant back rooms and private 
drinking booths on the second floor were usually ad- 
juncts of very profitable places. He saw by portly 
keepers, whose shirt fronts shone with large diamonds, 
and whose clothes were properly cut, that the liquor 
business here, as elsewhere, yielded the same golden 
profit. 

At last he found an individual who had a resort in 
Warren Street, which seemed an excellent venture. It 
was fairly well-appearing and susceptible of improve- 
ment. The owner claimed the business to be excellent, 
and it certainly looked so. 

" We deal with a very good class of people," he told 
Hurstwood. " Merchants, salesmen, and professionals. 
It's a well-dressed class. No bums. We don't allow 
'em in the place." 

Hurstwood listened to the cash-register ring, and 
watched the trade for a while. 

" It's profitable enough for two, is it ? " he asked. 

" You can see for yourself if you're any judge of the 
liquor trade," said the owner. " This is only one of the 
two places I have. The other is down in Nassau Street. 
I can't tend to them both alone. If I had some one who 
knew the business thoroughly I wouldn't mind sharing 
with him in this one and letting him manage it." 

" I've had experience enough," said Hurstwood 
blandly, but he felt a little diffident about referring to 
Fitzgerald and Moy. 



326 SISTER CARRIE 

" Well, you can suit yourself, Mr. Wheeler," said the 
proprietor. 

He only offered a third interest in the stock, fixtures, 
and good-will, and this in return for a thousand dollars 
and managerial ability on the part of the one who 
should come in. There was no property involved, be- 
cause the owner of the saloon merely rented from an 
estate. 

The offer was genuine enough, but it was a question 
with Hurstwood whether a third interest in that local- 
ity could be made to yield one hundred and fifty dol- 
lars a month, which he figured he must have in order 
to meet the ordinary family expenses and be com- 
fortable. It was not the time, however, after many 
failures to find what he wanted, to hesitate. It looked 
as though a third would pay a hundred a month now. 
By judicious management and improvement, it might 
be made to pay more. Accordingly he agreed to enter 
into partnership, and made over his thousand dollars, 
preparing to enter the next day. 

His first inclination was to be elated, and he con- 
fided to Carrie that he thought he had made an excel- 
lent arrangement. Time, however, introduced food for 
reflection. He found his partner to be very disagree- 
able. Frequently he was the worse for liquor, which 
made him surly. This was the last thing which Hurst- 
wood was used to in business. Besides, the business 
varied. It was nothing like the class of patronage 
which he had enjoyed in Chicago. He found that it 
would take a long time to make friends. These people 
hurried in and out without seeking the pleasures of 
friendship. It was no gathering or lounging place. 
Whole days and weeks passed without one such hearty 
greeting as he had been wont to enjoy every day in 
Chicago. 



SISTER CARRIE 327 

For another thing, Hurstwood missed the celebrities 
— those well-dressed, ilite individuals who lend grace 
to the average bars and bring news from far-off and 
exclusive circles. He did not see one such in a month. 
Evenings, when still at his post, he would occasionally 
read in the evening papers incidents concerning celeb- 
rities whom he knew — whom he had drunk a glass 
with many a time. They would visit a bar like Fitz- 
gerald and Moy's in Chicago, or the Hoffman House, 
uptown, but he knew that he would never see them 
down here. 

Again, the business did not pay as well as he 
thought. It increased a little, but he found he would 
have to watch his household expenses, which was 
humiliating. 

In the very beginning it was a delight to go home 
late at night, as he did, and find Carrie. He managed 
to run up and take dinner with her between six and 
seven, and to remain home until nine o'clock in the 
morning, but the novelty of this waned after a time, 
and he began to feel the drag of his duties. 

The first month had scarcely passed before Carrie 
said in a very natural way : " I think I'll go down this 
week and buy a dress." 

" What kind ? " said Hurstwood. 

" Oh, something for street wear." 

" All right," he answered, smiling, although he noted 
mentally that it would be more agreeable to his finances 
if she didn't. Nothing was said about it the next day, 
but the following morning he asked : 

" Have you done anything about your dress ? " 

" Not yet," said Carrie. 

He paused a few moments, as if in thought, and 
then said: 

" Would you mind putting it off a few days ? " 



328 SISTER CARRIE 

" No," replied Carrie, who did not catch the drift of 
his remarks. She had never thought of him in connec- 
tion with money troubles before. " Why ? '•' 

" Well, I'll tell you," said Hurstwood. " This invest- 
ment of mine is taking a lot of money just now. I ex- 
pect to get it all back shortly, but just at present I am 
running close." 

" Oh ! " answered Carrie. " Why, certainly, dear. 
Why didn't you tell me before? " 

" It wasn't necessary," said Hurstwood. 

For all her acquiescence, there was something about 
the way Hurstwood spoke which reminded Carrie of 
Drouet and his little deal which he was always about 
to put through. It was only the thought of a second, 
but it was a beginning. It was something new in her 
thinking of Hurstwood. 

Other things followed from time to time, little things 
of the same sort, which in their cumulative effect were 
eventually equal to a full revelation. Carrie was not 
dull by any means. Two persons cannot long dwell 
together without coming to an understanding of one 
another. The mental difficulties of an individual re- 
veal themselves whether he voluntarily confesses them 
or not. Trouble gets in the air and contributes gloom, 
which speaks for itself. Hurstwood dressed as nicely 
as usual, but they were the same clothes he had in Can- 
ada. Carrie noticed that he did not install a large ward- 
robe, though his own was anything but large. She no- 
ticed, also, that he did not suggest many amusements, 
said nothing a,bout the food, seemed concerned about 
his business. This was not the easy Hurstwood of 
Chicago — not the liberal, opulent Hurstwood she had 
known. The change was too obvious to escape 
detection. 

In time she began to feel that a change had come 



SISTER CARRIE 329 

about, and that she was not in his confidence. He was 
evidently secretive and kept his own counsel. She 
found herself asking him questions about little things. 
This is a disagreeable state to a woman. Great love 
makes it seem reasonable, sometimes plausible, but 
never satisfactory. Where great love is not, a more 
definite and less satisfactory conclusion is reached. 

As for Hurstwood, he was making a great fight 
against the difficulties of a changed condition. He was 
too shrewd not to realise the tremendous mistake he had 
made, and appreciate that he had done well in getting 
where he was, and yet he could not help contrasting his 
present state with his former, hour after hour, and day 
after day. 

Besides, he had the disagreeable fear of meeting old- 
time friends, ever since one such encounter which he 
made shortly after his arrival in the city. It was in 
Broadway that he saw a man approaching him whom 
he knew. There was no time for simulating non-recog- 
nition. The exchange of glances had been too sharp, the 
knowledge of each other too apparent. So the friend, 
a buyer for one of the Chicago wholesale houses, felt, 
perforce, the necessity of stopping. 

"How are you?" he said, extending his hand with 
an evident mixture of feeling and a lack of plausible 
interest. 

" Very well," said Hurstwood, equally embarrassed. 
" How is it with you ? " 

" All right ; I'm down here doing a little buying. Are 
you located here now? " 

" Yes," said Hurstwood, " I have a place down in 
Warren Street." 

" Is that so ? " said the friend. " Glad to hear it. I'll 
come down and see you." 

" Do," said Hurstwood. 



330 SISTER CARRIE 

" So long," said the other, smiling affably and going 
on. 

" He never asked for my number," thought Hurst- 
wood ; " he wouldn't think of coming." He wiped his 
forehead, which had grown damp, and hoped sincerely 
he would meet no one else. 

These things told upon his good-nature, such as it 
was. His one hope was that things would change for 
the better in a money way. He had Carrie. His fur- 
niture was being paid for. He was maintaining his 
position. As for Carrie, the amusements he could give 
her would have to do for the present. He could prob- 
ably keep up his pretensions sufficiently long without 
exposure to make good, and then all would be well. 
He failed therein to take account of the frailties of 
human nature — the difficulties of matrimonial life. 
Carrie was young. With him and with her varying 
mental states were common. At any moment the ex- 
tremes of feeling might be anti-polarised at the dinner 
table. This often happens in the best regulated fami- 
lies. Little things brought out on such occasions need 
great love to obliterate them afterward. Where that 
is not, both parties count two and two and make a prob- 
lem after a while. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

A PET OF GOOD FORTUNE: BROADWAY FLAUNTS ITS 
JOYS 

The effect of the city and his own situation on Hurst- 
wood was paralleled in the case of Carrie, who accepted 
the things which fortune provided with the most genial 
good-nature. New York, despite her first expression 
of disapproval, soon interested her exceedingly. Its 
clear atmosphere, more populous thoroughfares, and 
peculiar indifference struck her forcibly. She had 
never seen such a little flat as hers, and yet it soon en- 
listed her affection. The new furniture made an ex- 
cellent showing, the sideboard which Hurstwood him- 
self arranged gleamed brightly. The furniture for 
each room was appropriate, and in the so-called parlour, 
or front room, was installed a piano, because Carrie 
said she would like to learn to play. She kept a servant 
and developed rapidly in household tactics and infor- 
mation. For the first time in her life she felt settled, 
and somewhat justified in the eyes of society as she 
conceived of it. Her thoughts were merry and inno- 
cent enough. For a long while she concerned herself 
over the arrangement of New York flats, and wondered 
at ten families living in one building and all remaining 
strange and indifferent to each other. She also mar- 
velled at the whistles of the hundreds of vessels in the 
harbour — the long, low cries of the Sound steamers and 
ferry-boats when fog was on. The mere fact that these 
things spoke from the sea made them wonderful. She 



332 SISTER CARRIE 

looked much at what she could see of the Hudson from 
her west windows and of the great city building up 
rapidly on either hand. It was much to ponder over, 
and sufficed to entertain her for more than a year with- 
out becoming stale. 

For another thing, Hurstwood was exceedingly in- 
teresting in his affection for her. Troubled as he was, 
he never exposed his difficulties to her. He carried 
himself with the same self-important air, took his new 
state with easy familiarity, and rejoiced in Carrie's 
proclivities and successes. Each evening he arrived 
promptly to dinner, and found the little dining-room a 
most inviting spectacle. In a way, the smallness of 
the room added to its luxury. It looked full and re- 
plete. The white-covered table was arrayed with pretty 
dishes and lighted with a four-armed candelabra, each 
light of which was topped with a red shade. Between 
Carrie and the girl the steaks and chops came out all 
right, and canned goods did the rest for a while. Car- 
rie studied the art of making biscuit, and soon reached 
the stage where she could show a plate of light, pala- 
table morsels for her labour. 

In this manner the second, third, and fourth months 
passed. Winter came, and with it a feeling that in- 
doors was best, so that the attending of theatres was 
not much talked of. Hurstwood made great efforts to 
meet all expenditures without a show of feeling one 
way or the other. He pretended that he was reinvest- 
ing his money in strengthening the business for greater 
ends in the future. He contented himself with a very 
moderate allowance of personal apparel, and rarely 
suggested anything for Carrie. Thus the first winter 
passed. 

In the second year, the business which Hurstwood 
managed did increase somewhat. He got out of it 



SISTER CARRIE 333 

regularly the $150 per month which he had anticipated. 
Unfortunately, by this time Carrie had reached certain 
conclusions, and he had scraped up a few acquaint- 
ances. 

Being of a passive and receptive rather than an active 
and aggressive nature, Carrie accepted the situation. 
Her state seemed satisfactory enough. Once in a while 
they would go to. a theatre together, occasionally in 
season to the beaches and different points about the 
city, but they picked up no acquaintances. Hurstwood 
naturally abandoned his show of fine manners with her 
and modified his attitude to one of easy familiarity. 
There were no misunderstandings, no apparent differ- 
ences of opinion. In fact, without money or visiting 
friends, he led a life which could neither arouse jealousy 
nor comment. Carrie rather sympathised with his ef- 
forts and thought nothing upon her lack of entertain- 
ment such as she had enjoyed in Chicago. New York 
as a corporate entity and her flat temporarily seemed 
sufficient. 

However, as Hurstwood's business increased, he, as 
stated, began to pick up acquaintances. He also began 
to allow himself more clothes. He convinced himself 
that his home life was very precious to him, but allowed 
that he could occasionally stay away from dinner. 
The first time he did this he sent a message saying that 
he would be detained. Carrie ate alone, and wished 
that it might not happen again. The second time, also, 
he sent word, but at the last moment. The third time 
he forgot entirely and explained afterwards. These 
events were months apart, each. 

" Where were you, George? " asked Carrie, after the 
first absence. 

" Tied up at the office," he said genially. " There 
were some accounts I had to straighten." 



334 SISTER CARRIE 

" I'm sorry you couldn't get home," she said kindly. 
" I was fixing to have such a nice dinner." 

The second time he gave a similar excuse, but the 
third time the feeling about it in Carrie's mind was a 
little bit out of the ordinary. 

" I couldn't get home," he said, when he came in later 
in the evening, " I was so busy." 

" Couldn't you have sent me word? " asked Carrie. 

" I meant to," he said, " but you know I forgot it 
until it was too late to do any good." 

" And I had such a good dinner ! " said Carrie. 

Now, it so happened that from his observations of 
Carrie he began to imagine that she was of the thor- 
oughly domestic type of mind. He really thought, 
after a year, that her chief expression in life was finding 
its natural channel in household duties. Notwith- 
standing the fact that he had observed her act in Chi- 
cago, and that during the past year he had only seen 
her limited in her relations to her flat and him by con- 
ditions which he made, and that she had not gained any 
friends or associates, he drew this peculiar conclusion. 
With it came a feeling of satisfaction in having a wife 
who could thus be content, and this satisfaction worked 
its natural result. That is, since he imagined he saw 
her satisfied, he felt called upon to give only that which 
contributed to such satisfaction. He supplied the fur- 
niture, the decorations, the food, and the necessary 
clothing. Thoughts of entertaining her, leading her 
out into the shine and show of life, grew less and less. 
He felt attracted to the outer world, but did not think 
she would care to go along. Once he went to the 
theatre alone. Another time he joined a couple of his 
new friends at an evening game of poker. Since his 
money-feathers were beginning to grow again he felt 
like sprucing about. All this, however, in a much less 



SISTER CARRIE 335 

imposing way than had been his wont in Chicago. He 
avoided the gay places where he would be apt to meet 
those who had known him. 

Now, Carrie began to feel this in various sensory 
ways. She was not the kind to be seriously disturbed 
by his actions. Not loving him greatly, she could not 
be jealous in a disturbing way. In fact, she was not 
jealous at all. Hurstwood was pleased with her placid 
manner, when he should have duly considered it. When 
he did not come home it did not seem anything like a 
terrible thing to her. She gave him credit for having 
the usual allurements of men — people to talk to, places 
to stop, friends to consult with. She was perfectly 
willing that he should enjoy himself in his way, but she 
did not care to be neglected herself. Her state still 
seemed fairly reasonable, however. All she did ob- 
serve was that Hurstwood was somewhat different. 

Some time in the second year of their residence in 
Seventy-eighth Street the flat across the hall from Car- 
rie became vacant, and into it moved a very handsome 
young woman and her husband, with both of whom 
Carrie afterwards became acquainted. This was 
brought about solely by the arrangement of the flats, 
which were united in one place, as it were, by the dumb- 
waiter. This useful elevator, by which fuel, groceries, 
and the like were sent up from the basement, and gar- 
bage and waste sent down, was used by both residents 
of one floor; that is, a small door opened into it from 
each flat. 

If the occupants of both flats answered to the whistle 
of the janitor at the same time, they would stand face 
to face when they opened the dumb-waiter doors. One 
morning, when Carrie went to remove her paper, the 
newcomer, a handsome brunette of perhaps twenty- 
three years of age, was there for a like purpose. She 



336 SISTER CARRIE 

was in a night-robe and dressing-gown, with her hair 
very much tousled, but she looked so pretty and good- 
natured that Carrie instantly conceived a liking for her. 
The newcomer did no more than smile shamefacedly, 
but it was sufficient. Carrie felt that she would like to 
know her, and a similar feeling stirred in the mind of 
the other, who admired Carrie's innocent face. 

" That's a real pretty woman who has moved in next 
door," said Carrie to Hurstwood at the breakfast table. 

"Who are they? " asked Hurstwood. 

" I don't know," said Carrie. " The name on the 
bell is Vance. Some one over there plays beautifully. 
I guess it must be she." 

" Well, you never can tell what sort of people you're 
living next to in this town, can you ? " said Hurstwood, 
expressing the customary New York opinion about 
neighbours. 

" Just think/' said Carrie, " I have been in this house 
with nine other families for over a year and I don't 
know a soul. These people have been here over a 
month and I haven't seen any one before this morning." 

" It's just as well," said Hurstwood. " You never 
know who you're going to get in with. Some of these 
people are pretty bad company." 

" I expect so," said Carrie, agreeably. 

The conversation turned to other things, and Carrie 
thought no more upon the subject until a day or two 
later, when, going out to market, she encountered Mrs. 
Vance coming in. The latter recognised her and 
nodded, for which Carrie returned a smile. This set- 
tled the probability of acquaintanceship. If there had 
been no faint recognition on this occasion, there would 
have been no future association. 

Carrie saw no more of Mrs. Vance for several weeks, 
but she heard her play through the thin walls which 



SISTER CARRIE 337 

divided the front rooms of the flats, and was pleased 
by the merry selection of pieces and the brilliance of 
their rendition. She could play only moderately her- 
self, and such variety as Mrs. Vance exercised bor- 
dered, for Carrie, upon the verge of great art. Every- 
thing she had seen and heard thus far — the merest 
scraps and shadows — indicated that these people were, 
in a measure, refined and in comfortable circumstances. 
So Carrie was ready for any extension of the friendship 
which might follow. 

One day Carrie's bell rang and the servant, who was 
in the kitchen, pressed the button which caused the 
front door of the general entrance on the ground floor 
to be electrically unlatched. When Carrie waited at 
her own door on the third floor to see who it might be 
coming up to call on her, Mrs. Vance appeared. 

" I hope you'll excuse me," she said. " I went out a 
while ago and forgot my outside key, so I thought I'd 
ring your bell." 

This was a common trick of other residents of the 
building, whenever they had forgotten their outside 
keys. They did not apologise for it, however. 

" Certainly," said Carrie. " I'm glad you did. I do 
the same thing sometimes." 

" Isn't it just delightful weather? " said Mrs. Vance, 
pausing for a moment. 

Thus, after a few more preliminaries, this visiting 
acquaintance was well launched, and in the young Mrs. 
Vance Carrie found an agreeable companion. 

On several occasions Carrie visited her and was 
visited. Both flats were good to look upon, though 
that of the Vances tended somewhat more to the luxu- 
rious. 

" I want you to come over this evening and meet my 
husband," said Mrs. Vance, not long after their in- 
22 



338 SISTER CARRIE 

timacy began. " He wants to meet you. You play 
cards, don't you? " 

" A little," said Carrie. 

" Well, we'll have a game of cards. If your husband 
comes home bring him over." 

" He's not coming to dinner to-night," said Carrie. 

" Well, when he does come we'll call him in." 

Carrie acquiesced, and that evening met the portly 
Vance, an individual a few years younger than Hurst- 
wood, and who owed his seemingly comfortable matri- 
monial state much more to his money than to his good 
looks. He thought well of Carrie upon the first glance 
and laid himself out to be genial, teaching her a new game 
of cards and talking to her about New York arid its pleas- 
ures. Mrs. Vance played some upon the piano, and at 
last Hurstwood came. 

" I am very glad to meet you," he said to Mrs. Vance 
when Carrie introduced him, showing much of the old 
grace which had captivated Carrie. 

" Did you think your wife had run away? " said Mr. 
Vance, extending his hand upon introduction. 

" I didn't know but what she might have found a bet- 
ter husband," said Hurstwood. 

He now turned his attention to Mrs. Vance, and in 
a flash Carrie saw again what she for some time had 
sub-consciously missed in Hurstwood — the adroitness 
and flattery of which he was capable. She also saw 
that she was not well dressed — not nearly as well 
dressed — as Mrs. Vance. These were not vague ideas 
any longer. Her situation was cleared up for her. She 
felt that her life was becoming stale, and therein she 
felt cause for gloom. The old helpful, urging melan- 
choly was restored. The desirous Carrie was whis- 
pered to concerning her possibilities. 

There were no immediate results to this awakening, 



SISTER CARRIE 339 

for Carrie had little power of initiative ; but, neverthe- 
less, she seemed ever capable of getting herself into the 
tide of change where she would be easily borne along. 
Hurstwood noticed nothing. He had been unconscious 
of the marked contrasts which Carrie had observed. 
He did not even detect the shade of melancholy which 
settled in her eyes. Worst of all, she now began to 
feel the loneliness of the flat and seek the company of 
Mrs. Vance, who liked her exceedingly. 

" Let's go to the matinee this afternoon," said Mrs. 
Vance, who had stepped across into Carrie's flat one 
morning, still arrayed in a soft pink dressing-gown, 
which she had donned upon rising. Hurstwood and 
Vance had gone their separate ways nearly an hour 
before. 

" All right," said Carrie, noticing the air of the petted 
and well-groomed woman in Mrs. Vance's general ap- 
pearance. She looked as though she was dearly loved 
and her every wish gratified. " What shall we see? " 

" Oh, I do want to see Nat Goodwin," said Mrs. 
Vance. " I do think he is the jolliest actor. The 
papers say this is such a good play." 

" What time will we have to start? " asked Carrie. 

" Let's go at one and walk down Broadway from 
Thirty-fourth Street," said Mrs. Vance. " It's such 
an interesting walk. He's at the Madison Square." 

" I'll be glad to go," said Carrie. " How much will 
we have to pay for seats ? " 

" Not more than a dollar," said Mrs. Vance. 

The latter departed, and at one o'clock reappeared, 
stunningly arrayed in a dark-blue walking dress, with 
a nobby hat to match. Carrie had gotten herself up 
charmingly enough, but this woman pained her by con- 
trast. She seemed to have so many dainty little things 
which Carrie had not. There were trinkets of gold, an 



340 SISTER CARRIE 

elegant green leather purse set with her initials, a fancy- 
handkerchief, exceedingly rich in design, and the like. 
Carrie felt that she needed more and better clothes to 
compare with this woman, and that any one looking 
at the two would pick Mrs. Vance for her raiment 
alone. It was a trying, though rather unjust thought, 
for Carrie had now developed an equally pleasing 
figure, and had grown in comeliness until she was a 
thoroughly attractive type of her colour of beauty. 
There was some difference in the clothing of the two, 
both of quality and age, but this difference was not 
especially noticeable. It served, however, to augment 
Carrie's dissatisfaction with her state. 

The walk down Broadway, then as now, was one of 
the remarkable features of the city. There gathered, 
before the matinee and afterwards, not only all the 
pretty women who love a showy parade, but the men 
who love to gaze upon and admire them. It was a very 
imposing procession of pretty faces and fine clothes. 
Women appeared in their very best hats, shoes, and 
gloves, and walked arm in arm on their way to the fine 
shops or theatres strung along from Fourteenth to 
Thirty-fourth streets. Equally the men paraded with 
the very latest they could afford. A tailor might have 
secured hints on suit measurements, a shoemaker on 
proper lasts and colours, a hatter on hats. It was liter- 
ally true that if a lover of fine clothes secured a new 
suit, it was sure to have its first airing on Broadway. 
So true and well understood was this fact, that several 
years later a popular song, detailing this and other 
facts concerning the afternoon parade on matinee days, 
and entitled "What Right Has He on Broadway? " was 
published, and had quite a vogue about the music-halls 
of the city. 

In all her stay in the city, Carrie had never heard of 



SISTER CARRIE 



341 



this showy parade; had never even been on Broad- 
way when it was taking place. On the other hand, it 
was a familiar thing to Mrs. Vance, who not only knew 
of it as an entity, but had often been in it, going pur- 
posely to see and be seen, to create a stir with her 
beauty and dispel any tendency to fall short in dressi- 
ness by contrasting herself with the beauty and fashion 
of the town. 

Carrie stepped along easily enough after they got out 
of the car at Thirty-fourth Street, but soon fixed her 
eyes upon the lovely company which swarmed by and 
with them as they proceeded. She noticed suddenly 
that Mrs. Vance's manner had rather stiffened under 
the gaze of handsome men and elegantly dressed ladies, 
whose glances were not modified by any rules of pro- 
priety. To stare seemed the proper and natural thing. 
Carrie found herself stared at and ogled. Men in flaw- 
less top-coats, high hats, and silver-headed walking 
sticks elbowed near and looked too often into conscious 
e}res. Ladies rustled by in dresses of stiff cloth, shed- 
ding affected smiles and perfume. Carrie noticed 
among them the sprinkling of goodness and the heavy 
percentage of vice. The rouged and powdered cheeks 
and lips, the scented hair, the large, misty, and lan- 
guorous eye, were common enough. With a start she 
awoke to find that she was in fashion's crowd, on 
parade in a show place — and such a show place ! Jew- 
ellers' windows gleamed along the path with remark- 
able frequency. Florist shops, furriers, haberdashers, 
confectioners — all followed in rapid succession. The 
street was full of coaches. Pompous doormen in im- 
mense coats, shiny brass belts and buttons, waited in 
front of expensive salesrooms. Coachmen in tan boots, 
white tights, and blue jackets waited obsequiously for 
the mistresses of carriages who were shopping inside. 



342 



SISTER CARRIE 



The whole street bore the flavour of riches and show, 
and Carrie felt that she was not of it. She could not, 
for the life of her, assume the attitude and smartness 
of Mrs. Vance, who, in her beauty, was all assurance. 
She could only imagine that it must be evident to many 
that she was the less handsomely dressed of the two. 
It cut her to the quick, and she resolved that she would 
not come here again until she looked better. At the 
same time she longed to feel the delight of parading 
here as an equal. Ah, then she would be happy ! 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE FEAST OF BELSHAZZAR : A SEER TO TRANSLATE 

Such feelings as were generated in Carrie by this 
walk put her in an exceedingly receptive mood for the 
pathos which followed in the play. The actor whom 
they had gone to see had achieved his popularity by 
presenting a mellow type of comedy, in which sufficient 
sorrow was introduced to lend contrast and relief to 
humour. For Carrie, as we well know, the stage had a 
great attraction. She had never forgotten her one his- 
trionic achievement in Chicago. It dwelt in her mind 
and occupied her consciousness during many long 
afternoons in which her rocking-chair and her latest 
novel contributed the only pleasures of her state. 
Never could she witness a play without having her 
own ability vividly brought to consciousness. Some 
scenes made her long to be a part of them — to give 
expression to the feelings which she, in the place of 
the character represented, would feel. Almost invari- 
ably she would carry the vivid imaginations away with 
her and brood over them the next day alone. She lived 
as much in these things as in the realities which made 
up her daily life. 

It was not often that she came to the play stirred to 
her heart's core by actualities. To-day a low song of 
longing had been set singing in her heart by the finery, 
the merriment, the beauty she had seen. Oh, these 
women who had passed her by, hundreds and hundreds 
strong, who were they? Whence came the rich, ele- 



344 SISTER CARRIE 

gant dresses, the astonishingly coloured buttons, the 
knick-knacks of silver and gold? Where were these 
lovely creatures housed? Amid what elegancies of 
carved furniture, decorated walls, elaborate tapestries 
did they move? Where were their rich apartments, 
loaded with all that money could provide? In what 
stables champed these sleek, nervous horses and rested 
the gorgeous carriages ? Where lounged the richly 
groomed footmen? Oh, the mansions, the lights, the 
perfume, the loaded boudoirs and tables! New York 
must be filled with such bowers, or the beautiful, inso- 
lent, supercilious creatures could not be. Some hot- 
houses held them. It ached her to know that she was 
not one of them — that, alas, she had dreamed a dream 
and it had not come true. She wondered at her own 
solitude these two years past — her indifference to the 
fact that she had never achieved what she had expected. 
The play was one of those drawing-room concoctions 
in which charmingly overdressed ladies and gentlemen 
suffer the pangs of love and jealousy amid gilded sur- 
roundings. Such bon-mots are ever enticing to those 
who have all their days longed for such material sur- 
roundings and have never had them gratified. They 
have the charm of showing suffering under ideal con- 
ditions. Who would not grieve upon a gilded chair? 
Who would not suffer amid perfumed tapestries, 
cushioned furniture, and liveried servants? Grief 
under such circumstances becomes an enticing thing. 
Carrie longed to be of it. She wanted to take her suf- 
ferings, whatever they were, in such a world, or failing 
that, at least to simulate them under such charming 
conditions upon the stage. So affected was her mind 
by what she had seen, that the play now seemed an 
extraordinarily beautiful thing. She was soon lost in 
the world it represented, and wished that she might 



SISTER CARRIE 345 

never return. Between the acts she studied the galaxy 
of matinee attendants in front rows and boxes, and 
conceived a new idea of the possibilities of New York. 
She was sure she had not seen it all — that the city was 
one whirl of pleasure and delight. 

Going out, the same Broadway taught her a sharper 
lesson. The scene she had witnessed coming down 
was now augmented and at its height. Such a crush 
of finery and folly she had never seen. It clinched her 
convictions concerning her state. She had not lived, 
could not lay claim to having lived, until something of 
this had come into her own life. Women were spend- 
ing money like water; she could see that in every ele- 
gant shop she passed. Flowers, candy, jewelry, seemed 
the principal things in which the elegant dames were 
interested. And she — she had scarcely enough pin 
money to indulge in such outings as this a few times 
a month. 

That night the pretty little flat seemed a common- 
place thing. It was not what the rest of the world was 
enjoying. She saw the servant working at dinner with 
an indifferent eye. In her mind were running scenes 
of the play. Particularly she remembered one beauti- 
ful actress — the sweetheart who had been wooed and 
won. The grace of this woman had won Carrie's heart. 
Her dresses had been all that art could suggest, her 
sufferings had been so real. The anguish which she 
had portrayed Carrie could feel. It was done as she 
was sure she could do it. There were places in which 
she could even do better. Hence she repeated the lines 
to herself. Oh, if she could only have such a part, how 
broad would be her life ! She, too, could act appeal- 
ingly. 

When Hurstwood came, Carrie was moody. She 
was sitting, rocking and thinking, and did not care to 



346 SISTER CARRIE 

have her enticing imaginations broken in upon; so 
she said little or nothing. 

" What's the matter, Carrie ? " said Hurstwood after 
a time, noticing her quiet, almost moody state. 

" Nothing," said Carrie. " I don't feel very well to- 
night." 

"Not sick, are you?" he asked, approaching very 
close. 

" Oh, no," she said, almost pettishly, " I just don't 
feel very good." 

" That's too bad," he said, stepping away and adjust- 
ing his vest after his slignt bending over. " I was 
thinking we might go to a show to-night." 

" I don't want to go," said Carrie, annoyed that her 
fine visions should have thus been broken into and 
driven out of her mind. " I've been to the matinee this 
afternoon." 

"Oh, you have?" said Hurstwood. "What was 
it?" 

" A Gold Mine." 

"How was it?" 

" Pretty good," said Carrie. 

" And you don't want to go again to-night? " 

" I don't think I do," she said. 

Nevertheless, wakened out of her melancholia and 
called to the dinner table, she changed her mind. A 
little food in the stomach does wonders. She went 
again, and in so doing temporarily recovered her equa- 
nimity. The great awakening blow had, however, been 
delivered. As often as she might recover from these 
discontented thoughts now, they would occur again. 
Time and repetition — ah, the wonder of it! The 
dropping water and the solid stone — how utterly it yields 
at last ! 

Not long after this matinee experience — perhaps a 



SISTER CARRIE 347 

month — Mrs. Vance invited Carrie to an evening at the 
theatre with them. She heard Carrie say that Hurst- 
wood was not coming home to dinner. 

" Why don't you come with us ? Don't get dinner 
for yourself. We're going down to Sherry's for din- 
ner and then over to the Lyceum. Come along with us." 

" I think I will," answered Carrie. 

She began to dress at three o'clock for her departure 
at half-past five for the noted dining-room which was 
then crowding Delmonico's for position in society. In 
this dressing Carrie showed the influence of her asso- 
ciation with the dashing Mrs. Vance. She had con- 
stantly had her attention called by the latter to novel- 
ties in everything which pertains to a woman's apparel. 

" Are you going to get such and such a hat ? " or, 
" Have you seen the new gloves with the oval pearl 
buttons ? " were but sample phrases out of a large 
selection. 

" The next time you get a pair of shoes, dearie," said 
Mrs. Vance, " get button, with thick soles and patent- 
leather tips. They're all the rage this fall." 

" I will," said Carrie. 

" Oh, dear, have you seen the new shirtwaists at Alt- 
man's? They have some of the loveliest patterns. I 
saw one there that I know would look stunning on you. 
I said so when I saw it." 

Carrie listened to these things with considerable in- 
terest, for they were suggested with more of friendli- 
ness than is usually common between pretty women. 
Mrs. Vance liked Carrie's stable good-nature so well 
that she really took pleasure in suggesting to her the 
latest things. 

" Why don't you get yourself one of those nice serge 
skirts they're selling at Lord & Taylor's? " she said one 
day. " They're the circular st)de, and they're going to 



348 SISTER CARRIE 

be worn from now on. A dark blue one would look so 
nice on you." 

Carrie listened with eager ears. These things never 
came up between her and Hurstwood. Nevertheless, 
she began to suggest one thing and another, which 
Hurstwood agreed to without any expression of 
opinion. He noticed the new tendency on Carrie's 
part, and finally, hearing much of Mrs. Vance and her 
delightful ways, suspected whence the change came. 
He was not inclined to offer the slightest objection so 
soon, but he felt that Carrie's wants were expanding. 
This did not appeal to him exactly, but he cared for her 
in his own way, and so the thing stood. Still, there 
was something in the details of the transactions which 
caused Carrie to feel that her requests were not a de- 
light to him. He did not enthuse over the purchases. 
This led her to believe that neglect was creeping in, 
and so another small wedge was entered. 

Nevertheless, one of the results of Mrs. Vance's sug- 
gestions was the fact that on this occasion Carrie was 
dressed somewhat to her own satisfaction. She had 
on her best, but there was comfort in the thought that 
if she must confine herself to a best, it was neat and fit- 
ting. She looked the well-groomed woman of twenty- 
one, and Mrs. Vance praised her, which brought colour 
to her plump cheeks and a noticeable brightness into 
her large eyes. It was threatening rain, and Mr. Vance, 
at his wife's request, had called a coach. 

"Your husband isn't coming?" suggested Mr. Vance, 
as he met Carrie in his little parlour. 

" No ; he said he wouldn't be home for dinner." 

" Better leave a little note for him, telling him where 
we are. He might turn up." 

" I will," said Carrie, who had not thought of it 
before. 



SISTER CARRIE 



349 



" Tell him we'll be at Sherry's until eight o'clock. 
He knows, though, I guess." 

Carrie crossed the hall with rustling skirts, and 
scrawled the note, gloves on. When she returned a 
newcomer was in the Vance flat. 

" Mrs. Wheeler, let me introduce Mr. Ames, a cousin 
of mine," said Mrs. Vance. " He's going along with 
us, aren't you, Bob ? " 

" I'm very glad to meet you," said Ames, bowing 
politely to Carrie. 

The latter caught in a glance the dimensions of a 
very stalwart figure. She also noticed that he was 
smooth-shaven, good looking, and young, but nothing 
more. 

" Mr. Ames is just down in New York for a few 
days," put in Vance, " and we're trying to show him 
around a little." 

" Oh, are you ? " said Carrie, taking another glance 
at the newcomer. 

" Yes ; I am just on here from Indianapolis for a week 
or so," said young Ames, seating himself on the edge 
of a chair to wait while Mrs. Vance completed the last 
touches of her toilet. 

" I guess you find New York quite a thing to see, 
don't you? " said Carrie, venturing something to avoid 
a possible deadly silence. 

" It is rather large to get around in a week," answered 
Ames, pleasantly. 

He was an exceedingly genial soul, this young man, 
and wholly free of affectation. It seemed to Carrie he 
was as yet only overcoming the last traces of the bash- 
fulness of youth. He did not seem apt at conversation, 
but he had the merit of being well dressed and wholly 
courageous. Carrie felt as if it were not going to be 
hard to talk to him. 



35o 



SISTER CARRIE 



" Well, I guess we're ready now. The coach is out- 
side." 

" Come on, people," said Mrs. Vance, coming in smil- 
ing. " Bob, you'll have to look after Mrs. Wheeler." 

" I'll try to," said Bob smiling, and edging closer to 
Carrie. " You won't need much watching, will you? " 
he volunteered, in a sort of ingratiating and help-me- 
out kind of way. 

" Not very, I hope," said Carrie. 

They descended the stairs, Mrs. Vance offering sug- 
gestions, and climbed into the open coach. 

" All right," said Vance, slamming the coach door, 
and the conveyance rolled away. 

" What is it we're going to see? " asked Ames. 

" Sothern," said Vance, " in ' Lord Chumley.' " 

" Oh, he is so good ! " said Mrs. Vance. " He's just 
the funniest man." 

" I notice the papers praise it," said Ames. 

" I haven't any doubt," put in Vance, " but we'll all 
enjoy it very much." 

Ames had taken a seat beside Carrie, and accordingly 
he felt it his bounden duty to pay her some attention. 
He was interested to find her so young a wife, and so 
pretty, though it was only a respectful interest. There 
was nothing of the dashing lady's man about him. He 
had respect for the married state, and thought only of 
some pretty marriageable girls in Indianapolis. 

"Are you a born New Yorker?" asked Ames of 
Carrie. 

" Oh, no ; I've only been here for two years." 

" Oh, well, you've had time to see a great deal of it, 
anyhow." 

" I don't seem to have," answered Carrie. " It's 
about as strange to me as when I first came here." 

" You're not from the West, are you ? " 



SISTER CARRIE 35 1 

" Yes. I'm from Wisconsin," she answered. 

" Well, it does seem as if most people in this town 
haven't been here so very long. I hear of lots of In- 
diana people in my line who are here." 

"What is your line?" asked Carrie. 

" I'm connected with an electrical company," said 
the youth. 

Carrie followed up this desultory conversation with 
occasional interruptions from the Vances. Several 
times it became general and partially humorous, and in 
that manner the restaurant was reached. 

Carrie had noticed the appearance of gayety and pleas- 
ure-seeking in the streets which they were following. 
Coaches were numerous, pedestrians many, and in 
Fifty-ninth Street the street cars were crowded. At 
Fifty-ninth Street and Fifth Avenue a blaze of lights 
from several new hotels which bordered the Plaza 
Square gave a suggestion of sumptuous hotel life. 
Fifth Avenue, the home of the wealthy, was noticeably 
crowded with carriages, and gentlemen in evening 
dress. At Sherry's an imposing doorman opened the 
coach door and helped them out. Young Ames held 
Carrie's elbow as he helped her up the steps. They 
entered the lobby already swarming with patrons, and 
then, after divesting themselves of their wraps, went 
into a sumptuous dining-room. 

In all Carrie's experience she had never seen any- 
thing like this. In the whole time she had been in New 
York Hurstwood's modified state had not permitted 
his bringing her to such a place. There was an almost 
indescribable atmosphere about it which convinced the 
newcomer that this was the proper thing. Here was 
the place where the matter of expense limited the pa- 
trons to the moneyed or pleasure-loving class. Carrie 
had read of it often in the " Morning " and " Evening 



352 SISTER CARRIE 

World." She had seen notices of dances, parties, balls, 
and suppers at Sherry's. The Misses So-and-so would 
give a party on Wednesday evening at Sherry's. 
Young Mr. So-and-so would entertain a party of friends 
at a private luncheon on the sixteenth, at Sherry's. 
The common run of conventional, perfunctory notices 
of the doings of society, which she could scarcely re- 
frain from scanning each day, had given her a distinct 
idea of the gorgeousness and luxury of this wonderful 
temple of gastronomy. Now, at last, she was really in 
it. She had come up the imposing steps, guarded by 
the large and portly doorman. She had seen the lobby, 
guarded by another large and portly gentleman, and 
been waited upon by uniformed youths who took care 
of canes, overcoats, and the like. Here was the splendid 
dining-chamber, all decorated and aglow, where the 
wealthy ate. Ah, how fortunate was Mrs. Vance; 
young, beautiful, and well off — at least, sufficiently so 
to come here in a coach. What a wonderful thing it 
was to be rich. 

Vance led the way through lanes of shining tables, 
at which were seated parties of two, three, four, five, 
or six. The air of assurance and dignity about it all 
was exceedingly noticeable to the novitiate. Incan- 
descent lights, the reflection of their glow in polished 
glasses, and the shine of gilt upon the walls, combined 
into one tone of light which it requires minutes of 
complacent observation to separate and take particular 
note of. The white shirt fronts of the gentlemen, the 
bright costumes of the ladies, diamonds, jewels, fine 
feathers — all were exceedingly noticeable. 

Carrie walked with an air equal to that of Mrs. Vance, 
and accepted the seat which the head waiter provided 
for her. She was keenly aware of all the little things 
that were done — the little genuflections and attentions 



SISTER CARRIE 353 

of the waiters and head waiter which Americans pay 
for. The air with which the latter pulled out each 
chair, and the wave of the hand with which he mo- 
tioned them to be seated, were worth several dollars 
in themselves. 

Once seated, there began that exhibition of showy, 
wasteful, and unwholesome gastronomy as practised 
by wealthy Americans, which is the wonder and aston- 
ishment of true culture and dignity the world over. 
The large bill of fare held an array of dishes sufficient 
to feed an army, sidelined with prices which made rea- 
sonable expenditure a ridiculous impossibility — an 
order of soup at fifty cents or a dollar, with a dozen 
kinds to choose from ; oysters in forty styles and at 
sixty cents the half-dozen ; entrees, fish, and meats 
at prices which would house one over night in an aver- 
age hotel. One dollar fifty and two dollars seemed 
to be the most common figures upon this most taste- 
fully printed bill of fare. 

Carrie noticed this, and in scanning it the price of 
spring chicken carried her back to that other bill of 
fare and far different occasion when, for the first time, 
she sat with Drouet in a good restaurant in Chicago. 
It was only momentary — a sad note as out of an old 
song — and then it was gone. But in that flash was 
seen the other Carrie — poor, hungry, drifting at her 
wits' ends, and all Chicago a cold and closed world, 
from which she only wandered because she could not 
find work. 

On the walls were designs in colour, square spots 
of robin's-egg blue, set in ornate frames of gilt, whose 
corners were elaborate mouldings of fruit and flowers, 
with fat cupids hovering in angelic comfort. On the 
ceilings were coloured traceries with more gilt, lead- 
ing to a centre where spread a cluster of lights — in- 
23 



354 SISTER CARRIE 

candescent globes mingled with glittering prisms and 
stucco tendrils of gilt. The floor was of a reddish hue, 
waxed and polished, and in every direction were mir- 
rors — tall, brilliant, bevel-edged mirrors — reflecting and 
re-reflecting forms, faces, and candelabra a score and a 
hundred times. 

The tables were not so remarkable in themselves, and 
yet the imprint of Sherry upon the napery, the name of 
Tiffany upon the silverware, the name of Haviland 
upon the china, and over all the glow of the small, red- 
shaded candelabra and the reflected tints of the walls 
on garments and faces, made them seem remarkable. 
Each waiter added an air of exclusiveness and elegance 
by the manner in which he bowed, scraped, touched, 
and trifled with things. The exclusively personal at- 
tention which he devoted to each one, standing half bent, 
ear to one side, elbows akimbo, saying : " Soup — green 
turtle, yes. One portion, yes. Oysters — certainly — 
half-dozen — yes. Asparagus. Olives — yes." 

It would be the same with each one, only Vance es- 
sayed to order for all, inviting counsel and suggestions. 
Carrie studied the company with open eyes. So this 
was high life in New York. It was so that the rich 
spent their days and evenings. Her poor little mind 
could not rise above applying each scene to all society. 
Every fine lady must be in the crowd on Broadway in 
the afternoon, in the theatre at the matinee, in the 
coaches and dining-halls at night. It must be glow 
and shine everywhere, with coaches waiting, and foot- 
men attending, and she was out of it all. In two long 
years she had never even been in such a place as 
this. 

Vance was in his element here, as Hurstwood would 
have been in former days. He ordered freely of soup, 
oysters, roast meats, and side dishes, and had several 



SISTER CARRIE 355 

bottles of wine brought, which were set down beside 
the table in a wicker basket. 

Ames was looking away rather abstractedly at the 
crowd and showed an interesting profile to Carrie. His 
forehead was high, his nose rather large and strong, his 
chin moderately pleasing. He had a good, wide, well- 
shaped mouth, and his dark-brown hair was parted 
slightly on one side. He seemed to have the least 
touch of boyishness to Carrie, and yet he was a man 
full grown. 

" Do you know," he said, turning back to Carrie, 
after his reflection, " I sometimes think it is a 
shame for people to spend so much money this 
way." 

Carrie looked at him a moment with the faintest 
touch of surprise at his seriousness. He seemed to be 
thinking about something over which she had never 
pondered. 

" Do you?" she answered, interestedly. 

" Yes," he said, " they pay so much more than these 
things are worth. They put on so much show." 

" I don't know why people shouldn't spend when 
they have it," said Mrs. Vance. 

" It doesn't do any harm," said Vance, who was still 
studying the bill of fare, though he had ordered. 

Ames was looking away again, and Carrie was again 
looking at his forehead. To her he seemed to be think- 
ing about strange things. As he studied the crowd his 
eye was mild. 

" Look at that woman's dress over there," he 
said, again turning to Carrie, and nodding in a di- 
rection. 

" Where? " said Carrie, following his eyes. 

" Over there in the corner — way over. Do you see 
that brooch ? " 



356 SISTER CARRIE 

" Isn't it large?" said Carrie. 

" One of the largest clusters of jewels I have ever 
seen," said Ames. 

" It is, isn't it ? " said Carrie. She felt as if she would 
like to be agreeable to this young man, and also there 
came with it, or perhaps preceded it, the slightest shade 
of a feeling that he was better educated than she was — 
that his mind was better. He seemed to look it, and 
the saving grace in Carrie was that she could under- 
stand that people could be wiser. She had seen a num- 
ber of people in her life who reminded her of what she 
had vaguely come to think of as scholars. This strong 
young man beside her, with his clear, natural look, 
seemed to get a hold of things which she did not quite 
understand, but approved of. It was fine to be so, as 
a man, she thought. 

The conversation changed to a book that was having 
its vogue at the time — " Moulding a Maiden," by Albert 
Ross. Mrs. Vance had read it. Vance had seen it dis- 
cussed in some of the papers. 

" A man can make quite a strike writing a book," said 
Vance. " I notice this fellow Ross is very much talked 
about." He was looking at Carrie as he spoke. 

" I hadn't heard of him," said Carrie, honestly. 

" Oh, I have," said Mrs. Vance. " He's written lots 
of things. This last story is pretty good." 

" He doesn't amount to much," said Ames. 

Carrie turned her eyes toward him as to an oracle. 

" His stuff is nearly as bad as ' Dora Thorne,' " con- 
cluded Ames. 

Carrie felt this as a personal reproof. She read " Dora 
Thorne," or had a great deal in the past. It seemed only 
fair to her, but she supposed that people thought it very 
fine. Now this clear-eyed, fine-headed youth, who 
looked something like a student to her, made fun of it. 



SISTER CARRIE 



357 



It was poor to him, not worth reading. She looked 
down, and for the first time felt the pain of not under- 
standing. 

Yet there was nothing sarcastic or supercilious in the 
way Ames spoke. He had very little of that in him. 
Carrie felt that it was just kindly thought of a high 
order — the right thing to think, and wondered what 
else was right, according to him. He seemed to notice 
that she listened and rather sympathised with him, and 
from now on he talked mostly to her. 

As the waiter bowed and scraped about, felt the 
dishes to see if they were hot enough, brought spoons 
and forks, and did all those little attentive things cal- 
culated to impress the luxury of the situation upon the 
diner, Ames also leaned slightly to one side and told her 
of Indianapolis in an intelligent way. He really had a 
very bright mind, which was finding its chief develop- 
ment in electrical knowledge. His sympathies for other 
forms of information, however, and for types of people, 
were quick and warm. The red glow on his head gave 
it a sandy tinge and put a bright glint in his eye. Car- 
rie noticed all these things as he leaned toward her 
and felt exceedingly young. This man was far ahead 
of her. He seemed wiser than Hurstwood, saner and 
brighter than Drouet. He seemed innocent and clean, 
and she thought that he was exceedingly pleasant. She 
noticed, also, that his interest in her was a far-off one. 
She was not in his life, nor any of the things that 
touched his life, and yet now, as he spoke of these 
things, they appealed to her. 

" I shouldn't care to be rich," he told her, as the din- 
ner proceeded and the supply of food warmed up his 
sympathies ; " not rich enough to spend my money this 
way." 

"Oh, wouldn't you?" said Carrie, the, to her, new 



358 SISTER CARRIE 

attitude forcing itself distinctly upon her for the first 
time. 

" No," he said. " What good would it do? A man 
doesn't need this sort of thing to be happy." 

Carrie thought of this doubtfully ; but, coming from 
him, it had weight with her. 

" He probably could be happy," she thought to her- 
self, " all alone. He's so strong." 

Mr. and Mrs. Vance kept up a running fire of inter- 
ruptions, and these impressive things by Ames came at 
odd moments. They were sufficient, however, for the 
atmosphere that went with this youth impressed itself 
upon Carrie without words. There was something in 
him, or the world he moved in, which appealed to her. 
He reminded her of scenes she had seen on the stage — 
the sorrows and sacrifices that always went with she 
knew not what. He had taken away some of the bit- 
terness of the contrast between this life and her life, 
and all by a certain calm indifference which concerned 
only him. 

As they went out, he took her arm and helped her 
into the coach, and then they were off again, and so to 
the show. 

During the acts Carrie found herself listening to him 
very attentively. He mentioned things in the play 
which she most approved of — things which swayed her 
deeply. 

" Don't you think it rather fine to be an actor? " she 
asked once. 

" Yes, I do," he said, " to be a good one. I think the 
theatre a great thing." 

Just this little approval set Carrie's heart bounding. 
Ah, if she could only be an actress — a good one ! This 
man was wise — he knew — and he approved of it. If 
she were a fine actress, such men as he would approve 



SISTER CARRIE 359 

of her. She felt that he was good to speak as he had, 
although it did not concern her at all. She did not 
know why she felt this way. 

At the close of the show it suddenly developed that 
he was not going back with them. 

" Oh, aren't you ? " said Carrie, with an unwarrant- 
able feeling. 

" Oh, no," he said ; " I'm stopping right around here 
in 'Thirty-third Street." 

Carrie could not say anything else, but somehow this 
development shocked her. She had been regretting the 
wane of a pleasant evening, but she had thought there 
was a half-hour more. Oh, the half-hours, the minutes 
of the world ; what miseries and griefs are crowded into 
them! 

She said good-bye with feigned indifference. What 
matter could it make? Still, the coach seemed lorn. 

When she went into her own flat she had this to think 
about. She did not know whether she would ever see 
this man any more. What difference could it make — 
what difference could it make? 

Hurstwood had returned, and was already in bed. His 
clothes were scattered loosely about. Carrie came to 
the door and saw him, then retreated. She did not 
want to go in yet a while. She wanted to think. It was 
disagreeable to her. 

Back in the dining-room she sat in her chair and 
rocked. Her little hands were folded tightly as she 
thought. Through a fog of longing and conflicting de- 
sires she was beginning to see. Oh, ye legions of hope 
and pity — of sorrow and pain ! She was rocking, and 
beginning to see. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

WITHOUT THE WALLED CITY : THE SLOPE OF THE YEARS 

The immediate result of this was nothing. Results 
from such things are usually long in growing. Morn- 
ing brings a change of feeling. The existent condition 
invariably pleads for itself. It is only at odd moments 
that we get glimpses of the misery of things. The 
heart understands when it is confronted with contrasts. 
Take them away and the ache subsides. 

Carrie went on, leading much this same life for six 
months thereafter or more. She did not see Ames any 
more. He called once upon the Vances, but she only 
heard about it through the young wife. Then he went 
West, and there was a gradual subsidence of whatever 
personal attraction had existed. The mental effect of 
the thing had not gone, however, and never would en- 
tirely. She had an ideal to contrast men by — particu- 
larly men close to her. 

During all this time — a period rapidly approaching 
three years — Hurstwood had been moving along in an 
even path. There was no apparent slope downward, 
and distinctly none upward, so far as the casual obser- 
ver might have seen. But psychologically there was a 
change, which was marked enough to suggest the fu- 
ture very distinctly indeed. This was in ,the mere 
matter of the halt his career had received when he de- 
parted from Chicago. A man's fortune or material 
progress is very much the same as his bodily growth. 
Either he is growing stronger, healthier, wiser, as the 



SISTER CARRIE 361 

youth approaching manhood, or he is growing weaker, 
older, less incisive mentally, as the man approaching 
old age. There are no other states. Frequently there 
is a period between the cessation of youthful accretion 
and the setting in, in the case of the middle-aged man, 
of the tendency toward decay when the two processes 
are almost perfectly balanced and there is little doing 
in either direction. Given time enough, however, the 
balance becomes a sagging to the grave side. Slowly 
at first, then with a modest momentum, and at last the 
graveward process is in the full swing. So it is fre- 
quently with man's fortune. If its process of accretion 
is never halted, if the balancing stage is never reached, 
there will be no toppling. Rich men are, frequently, 
in these days, saved from this dissolution of their for- 
tune by their ability to hire younger brains. These 
younger brains look upon the interests of the fortune 
as their own, and so steady and direct its progress. If 
each individual were left absolutely to the care of his 
own interests, and were given time enough in which to 
grow exceedingly old, his fortune would pass as his 
strength and will. He and his would be utterly dis- 
solved and scattered unto the four winds of the 
heavens. 

But now see wherein the parallel changes. A for- 
tune, like a man, is an organism which draws to itself 
other minds and other strength than that inherent in 
the founder. Beside the young minds drawn to it by 
salaries, it becomes allied with young forces, v/hich 
make for its existence even when the strength and wis- 
dom of the founder are fading. It may be conserved by 
the growth of a community or of a state. It may be 
involved in providing something for which there is a 
growing demand. This removes it at once beyond the 
special care of the founder. It needs not so much fore- 



362 SISTER CARRIE 

sight now as direction. The man wanes, the need con- 
tinues or grows, and the fortune, fallen into whose 
hands it may, continues. Hence, some men never rec- 
ognise the turning in the tide of their abilities. It is 
only in chance cases, where a fortune or a state of suc- 
cess is wrested from them, that the lack of ability to do 
as they did formerly becomes apparent. Hurstwood, 
set down under new conditions, was in a position to see 
that he was no longer young. If he did not, it was due 
wholly to the fact that his state was so well balanced 
that an absolute change for the worse did not show. 

Not trained to reason or introspect himself, he could 
not analyse the change that was taking place in his 
mind, and hence his body, but he felt the depression of 
it. Constant comparison between his old state and his 
new showed a balance for the worse, which produced 
a constant state of gloom or, at least, depression. Now, 
it has been shown experimentally that a constantly 
subdued frame of mind produces certain poisons in the 
blood, called katastates, just as virtuous feelings of 
pleasure and delight produce helpful chemicals called 
anastates. The poisons generated by remorse inveigh 
against the system, and eventually produce marked 
physical deterioration. To these Hurstwood was sub- 
ject. 

In the course of time it told upon his temper. His 
eye no longer possessed that buoyant, searching shrewd- 
ness which had characterised it in Adams Street. His 
step was not as sharp and firm. He was given to think- 
ing, thinking, thinking. The new friends he made were 
not celebrities. They were of a cheaper, a slightly more 
sensual and cruder, grade. He could not possibly take 
the pleasure in this company that he had in that of 
those fine frequenters of the Chicago resort. He was 
left to brood. 



SISTER CARRIE 363 

Slowly, exceedingly slowly, his desire to greet, con- 
ciliate, and make at home these people who visited the 
Warren Street place passed from him. More and more 
slowly the significance of the realm he had left began 
to be clear. It did not seem so wonderful to be in it 
when he was in it. It had seemed very easy for any 
one to get up there and have ample raiment and money 
to spend, but now that he was out of it, how far off it 
became. He began to see as one sees a city with a wall 
about it. Men were posted at the gates. You could 
not get in. Those inside did not care to come out to 
see who you were. They were so merry inside there 
that all those outside were forgotten, and he was on the 
outside. 

Each day he could read in the evening papers of the 
doings within this walled city. In the notices of pas- 
sengers for Europe he read the names of eminent fre- 
quenters of his old resort. In the theatrical column ap- 
peared, from time to time, announcements of the latest 
successes of men he had known. He knew that they 
were at their old gayeties. Pullmans were hauling them 
to and fro about the land, papers were greeting them 
with interesting mentions, the elegant lobbies of hotels 
and the glow of polished dining-rooms were keeping 
them close within the walled city. Men whom he had 
known, men whom he had tipped glasses with — rich 
men, and he was forgotten! Who was Mr. Wheeler? 
What was the Warren Street resort? Bah! 

If one thinks that such thoughts do not come to so 
common a type of mind — that such feelings require a 
higher mental development — I would urge for their 
consideration the fact that it is the higher mental devel- 
opment that does away with such thoughts. It is the 
higher mental development which induces philosophy 
and that fortitude which refuses to dwell upon such 



364 SISTER CARRIE 

things — refuses to be made to suffer by their considera- 
tion. The common type of mind is exceedingly keen 
on all matters which relate to its physical welfare — 
exceedingly keen. It is the unintellectual miser who 
sweats blood at the loss of a hundred dollars. It is the 
Epictetus who smiles when the last vestige of physical 
welfare is removed. 

The time came, in the third year, when this thinking 
began to produce results in the Warren Street place. 
The tide of patronage dropped a little below what it 
had been at its best since he had been there. This irri- 
tated and worried him. 

There came a night when he confessed to Carrie that 
the business was not doing as well this month as it had 
the month before. This was in lieu of certain sugges- 
tions she had made concerning little things she wanted 
to buy. She had not failed to notice that he did not 
seem to consult her about buying clothes for himself. 
For the first time, it struck her as a ruse, or that he 
said it so that she would not think of asking for things. 
Her reply was mild enough, but her thoughts were 
rebellious. He was not looking after her at all. She 
was depending for her enjoyment upon the Vances. 

And now the latter announced that they were going 
away. It was approaching spring, and they were 
going North. 

" Oh, yes," said Mrs. Vance to Carrie, " we think we 
might as well give up the fiat and store our things. 
We'll be gone for the summer, and it would be a useless 
expense. I think we'll settle a little farther down town 
when we come back." 

Carrie heard this with genuine sorrow. She had en- 
joyed Mrs. Vance's companionship so much. There 
was no one else in the house whom she knew. Again 
she would be all alone. 



SISTER CARRIE 365 

Hurstwood's gloom over the slight decrease in prof- 
its and the departure of the Vances came together. So 
Carrie had loneliness and this mood of her husband to 
enjoy at the same time. It was a grievous thing. She 
became restless and dissatisfied, not exactly, as she 
thought, with Hurstwood, but with life. What was it? 
A very dull round indeed. What did she have ? Noth- 
ing but this narrow, little flat. The Vances could 
travel, they could do the things worth doing, and here 
she was. For what was she made, anyhow? More 
thought followed, and then tears — tears seemed jus- 
tified, and the only relief in the world. 

For another period this state continued, the twain 
leading a rather monotonous life, and then there was 
a slight change for the worse. One evening, Hurst- 
wood, after thinking about a way to modify Carrie's 
desire for clothes and the general strain upon his ability 
to provide, said : 

" I don't think I'll ever be able to do much with 
Shaughnessy." 

" What's the matter? " said Carrie. 

" Oh, he's a slow, greedy ' mick ' ! He won't agree to 
anything to improve the place, and it won't ever pay 
without it." 

" Can't you make him ? " said Carrie. 

" No ; I've tried. The only thing I can see, if I want 
to improve, is to get hold of a place of my own." 

" Why don't you ? " said Carrie. 

" Well, all I have is tied up in there just now. If I 
had a chance to save a while I think I could open a place 
that would give us plenty of money." 

" Can't we save? " said Carrie. 

" We might try it," he suggested. " I've been think- 
ing that if we'd take a smaller flat down town and live 
economically for a year, I would have enough, with 



366 SISTER CARRIE 

what I have invested, to open, a good place. Then we 
could arrange to live as you want to." 

" It would suit me all right," said Carrie, who, never- 
theless, felt badly to think it had come to this. Talk of 
a smaller flat sounded like poverty. 

" There are lots of nice little flats down around Sixth 
Avenue, below Fourteenth Street. We might get one 
down there." 

" I'll look at them if you say so," said Carrie. 

" I think I could break away from this fellow inside 
of a year," said Hurstwood. " Nothing will ever come 
of this arrangement as it's going on now." 

" I'll look around," said Carrie, observing that the 
proposed change seemed to be a serious thing with him. 

The upshot of this was that the change was eventu- 
ally effected; not without great gloom on the part of 
Carrie. It really affected her more seriously than any- 
thing that had yet happened. She began to look upon 
Hurstwood wholly as a man, and not as a lover or hus- 
band. She felt thoroughly bound to him as a wife, and 
that her lot was cast with his, whatever it might be; 
but she began to see that he was gloomy and taciturn, 
not a young, strong, and buoyant man. He looked a 
little bit old to her about the eyes and mouth now, and 
there were other things which placed him in his true 
rank, so far as her estimation was concerned. She be- 
gan to feel that she had made a mistake. Incidentally, 
she also began to recall the fact that he had practically 
forced her to flee with him. 

The new flat was located in Thirteenth Street, a half 
block west of Sixth Avenue, and contained only four 
rooms. The new neighbourhood did not appeal to 
Carrie as much. There were no trees here, no west 
view of the river. The street was solidly built up. 
There were twelve families here, respectable enough, 



SISTER CARRIE 367 

but nothing like the Vances. Richer people required 
more space. 

Being left alone in this little place, Carrie did without 
a girl. She made it charming enough, but could not 
make it delight her. Hurstwood was not inwardly 
pleased to think that they should have to modify their 
state, but he argued that he could do nothing. He must 
put the best face on it, and let it go at that. 

He tried to show Carrie that there was no cause for 
financial alarm, but only congratulation over the chance 
he would have at the end of the year by taking her 
rather more frequently to the theatre and by providing 
a liberal table. This was for the time only. He was 
getting in the frame of mind where he wanted princi- 
pally to be alone and to be allowed to think. The dis- 
ease of brooding was beginning to claim him as a vic- 
tim. Only the newspapers and his own thoughts were 
worth while. The delight of love had again slipped 
away. It was a case of live, now, making the best you 
can out of a very commonplace station in life. 

The road downward has but few landings and level 
places. The very state of his mind, superinduced by 
his condition, caused the breach to widen between him 
and his partner. At last that individual began to wish 
that Hurstwood was out of it. It so happened, how- 
ever, that a real estate deal on the part of the owner of 
the land arranged things even more effectually than 
ill-will could have schemed. 

" Did you see that? " said Shaughnessy one morning 
to Hurstwood, pointing to the real estate column in a 
copy of the " Herald," which he held. 

"No, what is it?" said Hurstwood, looking down 
the items of news. 

" The man who owns this ground has sold it." 

" You don't say so? " said Hurstwood. 



368 SISTER CARRIE 

He looked, and there was the notice. Mr. August 
Viele had yesterday registered the transfer of the lot, 
25 x 75 feet, at the corner of Warren and Hudson 
streets, to J. F. Slawson for the sum of $57,000. 

" Our lease expires when? " asked Hurstwood, think- 
ing. " Next February, isn't it? " 

" That's right," said Shaughnessy. 

" It doesn't say what the new man's going to do 
with it," remarked Hurstwood, looking back to the 
paper. 

" We'll hear, I guess, soon enough," said Shaugh- 
nessy. 

Sure enough, it did develop. Mr. Slawson owned 
the property adjoining, and was going to put up a 
modern office building. The present one was to be 
torn down. It would take probably a year and a half 
to complete the other one. 

All these things developed by degrees, and Hurst- 
wood began to ponder over what would become of the 
saloon. One day he spoke about it to his partner. 

" Do you think it would be worth while to open up 
somewhere else in the neighbourhood ? " 

" What would be the use ? " said Shaughnessy. " We 
couldn't get another corner around here." 

" It wouldn't pay anywhere else, do you think? " 

" I wouldn't try it," said the other. 

The approaching change now took on a most serious 
aspect to Hurstwood. Dissolution meant the loss of 
his thousand dollars, and he could not save another 
thousand in the time. He understood that Shaugh- 
nessy was merely tired of the arrangement, and would 
probably lease the new corner, when completed, alone. 
He began to worry about the necessity of a new con- 
nection and to see impending serious financial straits 
unless something turned up. This left him in no mood 



SISTER CARRIE 369 

to enjoy bis fiat or Carrie, and consequently the depres- 
sion invaded that quarter. 

Meanwhile, he took such time as he could to look 
about, but opportunities were not numerous. More, 
he had not the same impressive personality which he 
had when he first came to New York. Bad thoughts 
had put a shade into his eyes which did not impress 
others favourably. Neither had he thirteen hundred 
dollars in hand to talk with. About a month later, 
finding that he had not made any progress, Shaugh- 
nessy reported definitely that Slawson would not ex- 
tend the lease. 

" I guess this thing's got to come to an end," he said, 
affecting an air of concern. 

" Well, if it has, it has," answered Hurstwood, 
grimly. He would not give the other a key to his 
opinions, whatever they were. He should not have 
the satisfaction. 

A day or two later he saw that he must say some- 
thing to Carrie. 

" You know," he said, " I think I'm going to get the 
worst of my deal down there." 

" How is that? " asked Carrie in astonishment. 

" Well, the man who owns the ground has sold it, 
and the new owner won't re-lease it to us. The business 
may come to i.:i end." 

" Can't you start somewhere else? " 

" There doesn't seem to be any place. Shaughnessy 
doesn't want to." 

" Do you lose what you put in ? " 

" Yes," said Hurstwood, whose face was a study. 

" Oh, isn't that too bad?" said Carrie. 

" It's a trick," said Hurstwood. " That's all. They'll 
start another place there all right." 

Carrie looked at him, and gathered from his whole 
24 



370 SISTER CARRIE 

demeanour what it meant. It was serious, very- 
serious. 

" Do you think you can get something else ? " she 
ventured, timidly. 

Hurstwood thought a while. It was all up with the 
bluff about money and investment. She could see now 
that he was " broke." 

" I don't know," he said solemnly ; " I can try." 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE GRIND OF THE MILLSTONES : A SAMPLE OF CHAFF 

Carrie pondered over this situation as consistently as 
Hurstwood, once she got the facts adjusted in her mind. 
It took several days for her to fully realise that the 
approach of the dissolution of her husband's business 
meant commonplace struggle and privation. Her mind 
went back to her early venture in Chicago, the Han- 
sons and their flat, and her heart revolted. That was 
terrible ! Everything about poverty was terrible. She 
wished she knew a way out. Her recent experiences 
with the Vances had wholly unfitted her to view her 
own state with complacence. The glamour of the high 
life of the city had, in the few experiences afforded her 
by the former, seized her completely. She had been 
taught how to dress and where to go without having 
ample means to do either. Now, these things — ever- 
present realities as they were — filled her eyes and mind. 
The more circumscribed became her state, the more 
entrancing seemed this other. And now poverty threat- 
ened to seize her entirely and to remove this other 
world far upward like a heaven to which any Lazarus 
might extend, appealingly, his hands. 

So, too, the ideal brought into her life by Ames re- 
mained. He had gone, but here was his word that 
riches were not everything ; that there was a great deal 
more in the world than she knew; that the stage was 
good, and the literature she read poor. He was a 



372 SISTER CARRIE 

strong man and clean — how much stronger and better 
than Hurstwood and Drouet she only half formulated 
to herself, but the difference was painful. It was some- 
thing to which she voluntarily closed her eyes. 

During the last three months of the Warren Street 
connection, Hurstwood took parts of days off and 
hunted, tracking the business advertisements. It was a 
more or less depressing business, wholly because of the 
thought that he must soon get something or he would 
begin to live on the few hundred dollars he was saving, 
and then he would have nothing to invest — he would 
have to hire out as a clerk. 

Everything he discovered in his line advertised as an 
opportunity, was either too expensive or too wretched 
for him. Besides, winter was coming, the papers were 
announcing hardships, and there was a general feeling 
of hard times in the air, or, at least, he thought so. In 
his worry, other people's worries became apparent. No 
item about a firm failing, a family starving, or a man 
dying upon the streets, supposedly of starvation, but 
arrested his eye as he scanned the morning papers. 
Once the " World " came out with a flaring announce- 
ment about" 80,000 people out of employment in New 
York this winter," which struck as a knife at his heart. 

" Eighty thousand ! " he thought. " What an awful 
thing that is." 

This was new reasoning for Hurstwood. In the old 
days the world had seemed to be getting along well 
enough. He had been wont to see similar things in 
the " Daily News," in Chicago, but they did not hold 
his attention. Now, these things were like grey clouds 
hovering along the horizon of a clear day. They 
threatened to cover and obscure his life with chilly 
greyness. He tried to shake them off, to forget and 
brace up. Sometimes he said to himself, mentally: 



SISTER CARRIE 373 

"What's the use worrying? I'm not out yet. I've 
got six weeks more. Even if worst comes to worst, 
I've got enough to live on for six months." 

Curiously, as he troubled over his future, his 
thoughts occasionally reverted to his wife and family. 
He had avoided such thoughts for the first three years 
as much as possible. He hated her, and he could 
get along without her. Let her go. He would do well 
enough. Now, however, when he was not doing well 
enough, he began to wonder what she was doing, how 
his children were getting along. He could see them 
living as nicely as ever, occupying the comfortable 
house and using his property. 

" By George ! it's a shame they should have it all," 
he vaguely thought to himself on several occasions. 
" I didn't do anything." 

As he looked back now and analysed the situation 
which led up to his taking the money, he began mildly 
to justify himself. What had he done — what in the 
world — that should bar him out this way and heap such 
difficulties upon him ? It seemed only yesterday to him 
since he was comfortable and well-to-do. But now it 
was all wrested from him. 

" She didn't deserve what she got out of me, that is 
sure. I didn't do so much, if everybody could just 
know." 

There was no thought that the facts ought to be ad- 
vertised. It was only a mental justification he was 
seeking from Himself — something that would enable 
him to bear his state as a righteous man. 

One afternoon, five weeks before the Warren Street 
place closed up, he left the saloon to visit three or four 
places he saw advertised in the " Herald." One was 
down in Gold Street, and he visited that, but did not 
enter. It was such a cheap looking place he felt that 



374 



SISTER CARRIE 



he could not abide it. Another was on the Bowery, 
which he knew contained many showy resorts. It was 
near Grand Street, and turned out to be very hand- 
somely fitted up. He talked around about investments 
for fully three-quarters of an hour with the proprietor, 
who maintained that his health was poor, and that was 
the reason he wished a partner. 

" Well, now, just how much money would it take to 
buy a half interest here?" said Hurstwood, who saw 
seven hundred dollars as his limit. 

" Three thousand," said the man. 

Hurstwood's jaw fell. 

"Cash? "he said. 

" Cash." 

He tried to put on an air of deliberation, as one who 
might really buy; but his eyes showed gloom. He 
wound up by saying he would think it over, and came 
away. The man he had been talking to sensed his 
condition in a vague way. 

" I don't think he wants to buy," he said to himself. 
" He doesn't talk right." 

The afternoon was as grey as lead and cold. It was 
blowing up a disagreeable winter wind. He visited a 
place far up on the east side, near Sixty-ninth Street, 
and it was five o'clock, and growing dim, when he 
reached there. A portly German kept this place. 

" How about this ad. of yours ? " asked Hurstwood, 
who rather objected to the looks of the place. 

" Oh, dat iss all over," said the German. " I vill not 
sell now." 

"Oh, is that so?" 

" Yes ; dere is nothing to dat. It iss all over." 

" Very well," said Hurstwood, turning around. 

The German paid no more attention to him, and it 
made him angry. 



SISTER CARRIE 375 

" The crazy ass ! " he said to himself. " What does 
he want to advertise for? " 

Wholly depressed, he started for Thirteenth Street. 
The flat had only a light in the kitchen, where Carrie 
was working. He struck a match and, lighting the gas, 
sat down in the dining-room without even greeting her. 
She came to the door and looked in. 

" It's you, is it? " she said, and went back. 

" Yes," he said, without even looking up from the 
evening paper he had bought. 

Carrie saw things were wrong with him. He was 
not so handsome when gloomy. The lines at the sides 
of the eyes were deepened. Naturally dark of skin, 
gloom made him look slightly sinister. He was quite 
a disagreeable figure. 

Carrie set the table and brought in the meal. 

"Dinner's ready," she said, passing him for some- 
thing. 

He did not answer, reading on. 

She came in and sat down at her place, feeling ex- 
ceedingly wretched. 

" Won't you eat now ? " she asked. 

He folded his paper and drew near, silence holding 
for a time, except for the " Pass me's." 

" It's been gloomy to-day, hasn't it ? " ventured Car- 
rie, after a time. 

" Yes," he said. 

He only picked at his food. 

" Are you still sure to close up ? " said Carrie, ventur- 
ing to take up the subject which they had discussed 
often enough. 

" Of course we are," he said, with the slightest modi- 
fication of sharpness. 

This retort angered Carrie. She had had a dreary 
day of it herself. 



376 SISTER CARRIE 

" You needn't talk like that," she said. 

" Oh ! " he exclaimed, pushing back from the table, as 
if to say more, but letting it go at that. Then he picked 
up his paper. Carrie left her seat, containing herself 
with difficulty. He saw she was hurt. 

" Don't go 'way," he said, as she started back into 
the kitchen. " Eat your dinner." 

She passed, not answering. 

He looked at the paper a few moments, and then rose 
up and put on his coat. 

" I'm going down town, Carrie," he said, coming out. 
" I'm out of sorts to-night." 

She did not answer. 

" Don't be angry," he said. " It will be all right to- 
morrow." 

He looked at her, but she paid no attention to him, 
working at her dishes. 

" Good-bye ! " he said finally, and went out. 

This was the first strong result of the situation be- 
tween them, but with the nearing of the last day of the 
business the gloom became almost a permanent thing. 
Hurstwood could not conceal his feelings about the 
matter. Carrie could not help wondering where she 
was drifting. It got so that they talked even less than 
usual, and yet it was not Hurstwood who felt any ob- 
jection to Carrie. It was Carrie who shied away from 
him. This he noticed. It aroused an objection to 
her becoming indifferent to him. He made the possi- 
bility of friendly intercourse almost a giant task, and 
then noticed with discontent that Carrie added to it by 
her manner and made it more impossible. 

At last the final day came. When it actually ar- 
rived, Hurstwood, who had got his mind into such a 
state where a thunder-clap and raging storm would 
have seemed highly appropriate, was rather relieved to 



SISTER CARRIE 377 

find that it was a plain, ordinary day. The sun shone, 
the temperature was pleasant. He felt, as he came to 
the breakfast table, that it wasn't so terrible, after all. 

" Well," he said to Carrie, " to-day's my last day on 
earth." 

Carrie smiled in answer to his humour. 

Hurstwood glanced over his paper rather gayly. He 
seemed to have lost a load. 

" I'll go down for a little while," he said after break- 
fast, " and then I'll look around. To-morrow I'll spend 
the whole day looking about. I think I can get some- 
thing, now this thing's off my hands." 

He went out smiling and visited the place. Shaugh- 
nessy was there. They had made all arrangements to 
share according to their interests. When, however, he 
had been there several hours, gone out three more, and 
returned, his elation had departed. As much as he had 
objected to the place, now that it was no longer to exist, 
he felt sorry. He wished that things were different. 

Shaughnessy was coolly business-like. 

" Well," he said at five o'clock, " we might as well 
count the change and divide." 

They did so. The fixtures had already been sold and 
the sum divided. 

" Good-night," said Hurstwood at the final moment, 
in a last effort to be genial. 

" So long," said Shaughnessy, scarcely deigning a 
notice. 

Thus the Warren Street arrangement was per- 
manently concluded. 

Carrie had prepared a good dinner at the flat, but 
after his ride up, Hurstwood was in a solemn and re- 
flective mood. 

" Well ? " said Carrie, inquisitively. 

" I'm out of that," he answered, taking off his coat. 



378 SISTER CARRIE 

As she looked at him, she wondered what his finan- 
cial state was now. They ate and talked a little. 

"Will you have enough to buy in anywhere else?" 
asked Carrie. 

" No," he said. " I'll have to get something else and 
save up." 

" It would be nice if you could get some place," said 
Carrie, prompted by anxiety and hope. 

" I guess I will," he said reflectively. 

For some days thereafter he put on his overcoat 
regularly in the morning and sallied forth. On these 
ventures he first consoled himself with the thought 
that with the seven hundred dollars he had he could 
still make some advantageous arrangement. He 
thought about going to some brewery, which, as he 
knew, frequently controlled saloons which they leased, 
and get them to help him. Then he remembered that 
he would have to pay out several hundred any way for 
fixtures and that he would have nothing left for his 
monthly expenses. It was costing him nearly eighty 
dollars a month to live. 

" No," he said, in his sanest moments, " I can't do it. 
I'll get something else and save up." 

This getting-something proposition complicated it- 
self the moment he began to think of what it was he 
wanted to do. Manage a place ? Where should he get 
such a position ? The papers contained no requests for 
managers. Such positions, he knew well enough, were 
either secured by long years of service or were bought 
with a half or third interest. Into a place important 
enough to need such a manager he had not money 
enough to buy. 

Nevertheless, he started out. His clothes were very 
good and his appearance still excellent, but it involved 
the trouble of deluding. People, looking at him, im- 



SISTER CARRIE 379 

agined instantly that a man of his age, stout and well 
dressed, must be well off. He appeared a comfortable 
owner of something, a man from whom the common 
run of mortals could well expect gratuities. Being now 
forty-three years of age, and comfortably built, walking 
was not easy. He had not been used to exercise for 
many years. His legs tired, his shoulders ached, and 
his feet pained him at the close of the day, even when 
he took street cars in almost every direction. The mere 
getting up and down, if long continued, produced this 
result. 

The fact that people took him to be better off than he 
was, he well understood. It was so painfully clear to 
him that it retarded his search. Not that he wished to 
be less well-appearing, but that he was ashamed to belie 
his appearance by incongruous appeals. So he hesi- 
tated, wondering what to do. 

He thought of the hotels, but instantly he remembered 
that he had had no experience as a clerk, and, what was 
more important, no acquaintances or friends in that line 
to whom he could go. He did know some hotel owners 
in several cities, including New York, but they knew of 
his dealings with Fitzgerald and Moy. He could not 
apply to them. He thought of other lines suggested by 
large buildings or businesses which he knew of — whole- 
sale groceries, hardware, insurance concerns, and the 
like — but he had had no experience. 

How to go about getting anything was a bitter 
thought. Would he have to go personally and ask ; 
wait outside an office door, and, then, distinguished and 
affluent looking, announce that he was looking for 
something to do? He strained painfully at the thought. 
No, he could not do that. 

He really strolled about, thinking, and then, the 
weather being cold, stepped into a hotel. He knew hotels 



380 SISTER CARRIE 

well enough to know that any decent looking individual 
was welcome to a chair in the lobby. This was in the 
Broadway Central, which was then one of the most im- 
portant hotels in the city. Taking a chair here was a 
painful thing to him. To think he should come to this ! 
He had heard loungers about hotels called chair- 
warmers. He had called them that himself in his 
day. But here he was, despite the possibility of 
meeting some one who knew him, shielding himself 
from cold and the weariness of the streets in a hotel 
lobby. 

" I can't do this way," he said to himself. " There's 
no use of my starting out mornings without first think- 
ing Up some place to go. I'll think of some places and 
then look them up." 

It occurred to him that the positions of bartenders 
were sometimes open, but he put this out of his mind. 
Bartender — he, the ex-manager 1 

It grew awfully dull sitting in the hotel lobby, and so 
at four he went home. He tried to put on a business 
air as he went in, but it was a feeble imitation. The 
rocking-chair in the dining-room was comfortable. He 
sank into it gladly, with several papers he had bought, 
and began to read. 

As she was going through the room to begin prepar- 
ing dinner, Carrie said : 

" The man was here for the rent to-day." 

" Oh, was he? " said Hurstwood. 

The least wrinkle crept into his brow as he remem- 
bered that this was February 2d, the time the man al- 
ways called. He fished down in his pocket for his 
purse, getting the first taste of paying out when noth- 
ing is coming in. He looked at the fat, green roll as a 
sick man looks at the one possible saving cure. Then 
he counted off twenty-eight dollars. 



SISTER CARRIE 381 

" Here you are," he said to Carrie, when she came 
through again. 

He buried himself in his papers and read. Oh, the 
rest of it — the relief from walking and thinking ! What 
Lethean waters were these floods of telegraphed intel- 
ligence ! He forgot his troubles, in part. Here was a 
young, handsome woman, if you might believe the 
newspaper drawing, suing a rich, fat, candy-making 
husband in Brooklyn for divorce. Here was another 
item detailing the wrecking of a vessel in ice and snow 
off Prince's Bay on Staten Island. A long, bright col- 
umn told of the doings in the theatrical world — the 
plays produced, the actors appearing, the managers 
making announcements. Fannie Davenport was just 
opening at the Fifth Avenue. Daly was producing 
" King Lear." He read of the early departure for the 
season of a party composed of the Vanderbilts and their 
friends for Florida. An interesting shooting affray 
was on in the mountains of Kentucky. So he read, 
read, read, rocking in the warm room near the radiator 
and waiting for dinner to be served. 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE PASSING OF EFFORT: THE VISAGE OF CARE 

The next morning he looked over the papers and 
waded through a long list of advertisements, making a 
few notes. Then he turned to the male-help-wanted 
column, but with disagreeable feelings. The day was 
before him — a long day in which to discover something 
— and this was how he must begin to discover. He 
scanned the long column, which mostly concerned 
bakers, bushelmen, cooks, compositors, drivers, and the 
like, finding two things only which arrested his eye. 
One was a cashier wanted in a wholesale furniture 
house, and the other a salesman for a whiskey house. 
He had never thought of the latter. At once he de- 
cided to look that up. 

The firm in question was Alsbery & Co., whiskey 
brokers. 

He was admitted almost at once to the manager on 
his appearance. 

" Good-morning, sir," said the latter, thinking at first 
that he was encountering one of his out-of-town cus- 
tomers. 

" Good-morning," said Hurstwood. " You adver- 
tised, I believe, for a salesman ? " 

" Oh," said the man, showing plainly the enlighten- 
ment which had come to him. " Yes. Yes, I did." 

" I thought I'd drop in," said Hurstwood, with dig- 
nity. " I've had some experience in that line myself." 



SISTER CARRIE 383 

" Oh, have you ? " said the man. " What experience 
have you had? " 

" Well, I've managed several liquor houses in my 
time. Recently I owned a third-interest in a saloon 
at Warren and Hudson streets." 

" I see," said the man. 

Hurstwood ceased, waiting for some suggestion. 

" We did want a salesman," said the man. " I don't 
know as it's anything you'd care to take hold of, 
though." 

" I see," said Hurstwood. " Well, I'm in no position 
to choose, just at present. If it were open, I should be 
glad to get it." 

The man did not take kindly at all to his " No posi- 
tion to choose." He wanted some one who wasn't 
thinking of a choice or something better. Especially 
not an old man. He wanted some one young, active, 
and glad to work actively for a moderate sum. Hurst- 
wood did not please him at all. He had more of an air 
than his employers. 

" Well," he said in answer, " we'd be glad to con- 
sider your application. We shan't decide for a few 
days yet. Suppose you send us your references." 

" I will," said Hurstwood. 

He nodded good-morning and came away. At the 
corner he looked at the furniture company's address, 
and saw that it was in West Twenty-third Street. Ac- 
cordingly, he went up there. The place was not large 
enough, however. It looked moderate, the men in it 
idle and small salaried. He walked by, glancing in, 
and then decided not to go in there. 

" They want a girl, probably, at ten a week," he said. 

At one o'clock he thought of eating, and went to a 
restaurant in Madison Square. There he pondered 
over places which he might look up. He was tired. It 



384 SISTER CARRIE 

was blowing up grey again. Across the way, through 
Madison Square Park, stood the great hotels, looking 
down upon a busy scene. He decided to go over to the 
lobby of one and sit a while. It was warm in there and 
bright. He had seen no one he knew at the Broadway 
Central. In all likelihood he would encounter no one 
here. Finding a seat on one of the red plush divans 
close to the great windows which look out on Broad- 
way's busy rout, he sat musing. His state did not seem 
so bad in here. Sitting still and looking out, he could 
take some slight consolation in the few hundred dollars 
he had in his purse. He could forget,, in a measure, the 
weariness of the street and his tiresome searches. Still, 
it was only escape from a severe to a less severe state. 
He was still gloomy and disheartened. There, minutes 
seemed to go very slowly. An hour was a long, long 
time in passing. It was filled for him with observa- 
tions and mental comments concerning the actual' 
guests of the hotel, who passed in and out, and those 
more prosperous pedestrians whose good fortune 
showed in their clothes and spirits as they passed along 
Broadway, outside. It was nearly the first time since 
he had arrived in the city that his leisure afforded him 
ample opportunity to contemplate this spectacle. Now, 
being, perforce, idle himself, he wondered at the activity 
of others. How gay were the youths he saw, how pretty 
the women. Such fine elothes they all wore. They were 
so intent upon getting somewhere. He saw coquet- 
tish glances cast by magnificent girls. Ah, the money 
it required to train with such — how well he knew! 
How long it had been since he had had the opportunity 
to do so \ 

The clock outside registered four. It was a little 
early, but he thought he would go back to the fiat. 

This going back to the flat was coupled with the 



SISTER CARRIE 385 

thought that Carrie would think he was sitting around 
too much if he came home early. He hoped he wouldn't 
have to, but the day hung heavily on his hands. Over 
there he was on his own ground. He could sit in his 
rocking-chair and read. This busy, distracting, sug- 
gestive scene was shut out. He could read his papers. 
Accordingly, he went home. Carrie was reading, quite 
alone. It was rather dark in the flat, shut in as it was. 

" You'll hurt your eyes/' he said when he saw her. 

After taking off his coat, he felt it incumbent upon 
him to make some little report of his day. 

"I've been talking with a wholesale liquor company," 
he said. " I may go out on the road." 

" Wouldn't that be nice ! " said Carrie. 

" It wouldn't be such a bad thing," he answered. 

Always from the man at the corner now he bought 
two papers — the " Evening World " and " Evening 
Sun." So now he merely picked his papers up, as he 
Came by, without stopping. 

He drew up his chair near the radiator and lighted 
the gas. Then it was as the evening before. His dif- 
ficulties vanished in the items he so well loved to read. 

The next day was even worse than the one before, 
because now he could not think of where to go. Noth- 
ing he saw in the papers he studied — till ten o'clock — 
appealed to him. He felt that he ought to go out, and 
yet he sickened at the thought. Where to, where to? 

" You mustn't forget to leave me my money for this 
week," said Carrie, quietly. 

They had an arrangement by which he placed twelve 
dollars a week in her hands, out of which to pay current 
expenses. He heaved a little sigh as she said this, and 
drew out his purse. Again he felt the dread of the 
thing. Here he was taking off, taking off, and nothing 
coming in. 
25 



386 SISTER CARRIE 

" Lord ! " he said, in his own thoughts, " this can't go 
on." 

To Carrie he said nothing whatsoever. She could 
feel that her request disturbed him. To pay her would 
soon become a distressing thing. 

" Yet, what have I got to do with it? " she thought. 
" Oh, why should I be made to worry? " 

Hurstwood went out and made for Broadway. He. 
wanted to think up some place. Before long, though, 
he reached the Grand Hotel at Thirty-first Street. He 
knew of its comfortable lobby. He was cold after his 
twenty blocks' walk. 

" I'll go in their barber shop and get a shave," he 
thought. 

Thus he justified himself in sitting down in here after 
his tonsorial treatment. 

Again, time hanging heavily on his hands, he went 
home early, and this continued for several days, each 
day the need to hunt paining him, and each day disgust, 
depression, shamefacedness driving him into lobby 
idleness. 

At last three days came in which a storm prevailed, 
and he did not go out at all. The snow began to fall 
late one afternoon. It was a regular flurry of large, 
soft, white flakes. In the morning it was still coming 
down with a high wind, and the papers announced a 
blizzard. From out the front windows one could see 
a deep, soft bedding. 

" I guess I'll not try to go out to-day," he said to 
Carrie at breakfast. " It's going to be awful bad, so 
the papers say." 

" The man hasn't brought my coal, either," said Car- 
rie, who ordered by the bushel. 

" I'll go over and see about it," said Hurstwood. This 
was the first time he had ever suggested doing an 



SISTER CARRIE 387 

errand, but, somehow, the wish to sit about the 
house prompted it as a sort of compensation for the 
privilege. 

All day and all night it snowed, and the city began 
to suffer from a general blockade of traffic. Great at- 
tention was given to the details of the storm by the 
newspapers, which played up the distress of the poor 
in large type. 

Hurstwood sat and read by his radiator in the corner. 
He did not try to think about his need of work. This 
storm being so terrific, and tying up all things, robbed 
him of the need. He made himself wholly comfortable 
and toasted his feet. 

Carrie observed his ease with some misgiving. For 
all the fury of the storm she doubted his comfort. He 
took his situation too philosophically. 

Hurstwood, however, read on and on. He did not 
pay much attention to Carrie. She fulfilled her house- 
hold duties and said little to disturb him. 

The next day it, was still snowing, and the next, bitter 
cold. Hurstwood took the alarm of the paper and sat 
still. Now he volunteered to do a few other little 
things. One was to go to the butcher, another to the 
grocery. He really thought nothing of these little ser- 
vices in connection with their true significance. He 
felt as if he were not wholly useless — indeed, in such a 
stress of weather, quite worth while about the house. 

On the fourth day, however, it cleared, and he read 
that the storm was over. Now, however, he idled, 
thinking how sloppy the streets would be. 

It was noon before he finally abandoned his papers 
and got under way. Owing to the slightly warmer 
temperature the streets were bad. He went across 
Fourteenth Street on the car and got a transfer south on 
Broadway. One little advertisement he had, relating 



388 SISTER CARRIE 

to a saloon down in Pearl Street. When he reached 
the Broadway Central, however, he changed his 
mind. 

" What's the use? " he thought, looking out upon the 
slop and snow. " I couldn't buy into it. It's a thou- 
sand to one nothing comes of it. I guess I'll get off," 
and off he got. In the lobby he took a seat and waited 
again, wondering what he could do. 

While he was idly pondering, satisfied to be inside, 
a well-dressed man passed up the lobby, stopped, 
looked sharply, as if not sure of his memory, and then 
approached. Hurstwood recognised Cargill, the owner 
of the large stables in Chicago of the same name, whom' 
he had last seen at Avery Hall, the night Carrie ap- 
peared there. The remembrance of how this individual 
brought up his wife to shake hands on that occasion 
was also on the instant clear. 

Hurstwood was greatly abashed. His eyes expressed 
the difficulty he felt. 

" Why, it's Hurstwood ! " said Cargill, remember- 
ing now, and sorry that he had not recognised him 
quickly enough in the beginning to have avoided this 
meeting. 

" Yes," said Hurstwood. " How are you? " 

" Very well," said Cargill, troubled for something to 
talk about. " Stopping here? " 

" No," said Hurstwood, " just keeping an appoint- 
ment." 

" I knew you had left Chicago. I was wondering 
what had become of you." 

" Oh, I'm here now," answered Hurstwood, anxious 
to get away. 

" Doing well, I suppose? " 

" Excellent." 

" Glad to hear it." 



SISTER CARRIE 389 

They looked at one another, rather embarrassed. 

" Well, I have an engagement with a friend upstairs. 
I'll leave you. So long." 

Hurstwood nodded his head. 

" Damn it all," he murmured, turning toward the 
door. " I knew that would happen." 

He walked several blocks up the street. His watch 
only registered 1.30. He tried to think of some place 
to go or something to do. The day was so bad he 
wanted only to be inside. Finally his feet began to feel 
wet and cold, and he boarded a car. This took him to 
Fifty-ninth Street, which was as good as anywhere else. 
Landed here, he turned to walk back along Seventh 
Avenue, but the slush was too much. The misery of 
lounging about with nowhere to go became intolerable. 
He felt as if he were catching cold. 

Stopping at a corner, he waited for a car south bound. 
This was no day to be out; he would go home. 

Carrie was surprised to see him at a quarter of three. 

" It's a miserable day out," was all he said. Then he 
took off his coat and changed his shoes. 

That night he felt a cold coming on and took quinine. 
He was feverish until morning, and sat about the next 
day while Carrie waited on him. He was a helpless 
creature in sickness, not very handsome in a dull- 
coloured bath gown and his hair uncombed. He looked 
haggard about the eyes and quite old. Carrie noticed 
this, and it did not appeal to her. She wanted to be 
good-natured and sympathetic, but something about 
the man held her aloof. 

Toward evening he looked so badly in the weak light 
that she suggested he go to bed. 

" You'd better sleep alone," she said, " you'll feel 
better. I'll open your bed for you now." 

" All right," he said. 



39Q 



SISTER CARRIE 



As she did all these things, she was in a most de- 
spondent state. 

" What a life ! What a life ! " was her one thought. 

Once during the day, when he sat near the radiator, 
hunched up and reading, she passed through, and see- 
ing him, wrinkle ! her brows. In the front room, where 
it was not so warm, she sat by the window and cried. 
This was the life cut out for her, was it? To live cooped 
up in a small flat with some one who was out of work, 
idle, and indifferent to her. She was merely a servant 
to him now, nothing more. 

This crying made her eyes red, and when, in prepar- 
ing his bed, she lighted the gas, and, having prepared 
it, called him in, he noticed the fact. 

" What's the matter with you ? " he asked, looking 
into her face. His voice was hoarse and his unkempt 
head only added to its grewsome quality. 

" Nothing," said Carrie, weakly. 

" You've been crying," he said. 

" I haven't, either," she answered. 

It was not for love of him, that he knew. 

" You needn't cry," he said, getting into bed. 
" Things will come out all right." 

In a day or two he was up again, but rough weather 
holding, he stayed in. The Italian newsdealer now de- 
livered the morning papers, and these he read assidu- 
ously. A few times after that he ventured out, but 
meeting another of his old-time friends, he began to feel 
uneasy sitting about hotel corridors. 

Every day he came home early, and at last made no 
pretence of going anywhere. Winter was no time to 
look for anything. 

Naturally, being about the house, he noticed the way 
Carrie did things. She was far from perfect in house- 
hold methods and economy, and her little deviations on 



SISTER CARRIE 39 1 

this score first caught his eye. Not, however, before 
her regular demand for her allowance became a griev- 
ous thing. Sitting around as he did, the weeks seemed 
to pass very quickly. Every Tuesday Carrie asked for 
her money. 

" Do you think we live as cheaply as we might? " he 
asked one Tuesday morning. 

" I do the best I can," said Carrie. 

Nothing was added to this at the moment, but the 
next day he said : 

" Do you ever go to the Gansevoort Market over 
here?" 

" I didn't know there was such a market," said Carrie. 

" They say you can get things lots cheaper there." 

Carrie was very indifferent to the suggestion. These 
were things which she did not like at all. 

" How much do you pay for a pound of meat? " he 
asked one day. 

" Oh, there are different prices," said Carrie. " Sir- 
loin steak is twenty-two cents." 

" That's steep, isn't it? " he answered. 

So he asked about other things, until finally, with the 
passing days, it seemed to become a mania with him. 
He learned the prices and remembered them. 

His errand-running capacity also improved. It be- 
gan in a small way, of course. Carrie, going to get her 
hat one morning, was stopped by him. 

" Where are you going, Carrie? " he asked. 

" Over to the baker's," she answered. 

" I'd just as leave go for you," he said. 

She acquiesced, and he went. Each afternoon he 
would go to the corner for the papers. 

" Is there anything you want? " he would say. 

By degrees she began to use him. Doing this, how- 
ever, she lost the weekly payment of twelve dollars. 



392 SISTER CARRIE 

" You want to pay me to-day," she said one Tuesday, 
about this time. 

" How much ? " he asked. 

She understood well enough what it meant. 

" Well, about five dollars," she answered. " I owe 
the coal man." 

The same day he said : 

" I think this Italian up here on the corner sells coal 
at twenty-five cents a bushel. I'll trade with him." 

Carrie heard this with indifference. 

" All right," she said. 

Then it came to be : 

" George, I must have some coal to-day," or, " You 
must get some meat of some kind for dinner." 

He would find out what she needed and order. 

Accompanying this plan came skimpiness. 

" I only got a half-pound of steak," he said, coming 
in one afternoon with his papers. " We never seem to 
eat very much." 

These miserable details ate the heart out of Carrie. 
They blackened her days and grieved her soul. Oh, 
how this man had changed ! All day and all day, here he 
sat, reading his papers. The world seemed to have no 
attraction. Once in a while he would go out, in fine 
weather, it might be four or five hours, between eleven 
and four. She could do nothing but view him with 
gnawing contempt. 

It was apathy with Hurstwood, resulting from his 
inability to see his way out. Each month drew from 
his small store. Now, he had only five hundred dol- 
lars left, and this he hugged, half feeling as if he could 
stave off absolute necessity for an indefinite period. 
Sitting around the house, he decided to wear some old 
clothes he had. This came first with the bad days. 
Only once he apologised in the very beginning: 



SISTER CARRIE 



393 



" It's so bad to-day, I'll just wear these around." 

Eventually these became the permanent thing. 

Also, he had been wont to pay fifteen cents for a 
shave, and a tip of ten cents. In his first distress, he 
cut down the tip to five, then to nothing. Later, he 
tried a ten-cent barber shop, and, finding that the shave 
was satisfactory, patronised regularly. Later still, he 
put off shaving to every other day, then to every third, 
and so on, until once a week became the rule. On 
Saturday he was a sight to see. 

Of course, as his own self-respect vanished, it per- 
ished for him in Carrie. She could not understand 
what had gotten into the man. He had some money, 
he had a decent suit remaining, he was not bad looking 
when dressed up. She did not forget her own difficult 
struggle in Chicago, but she did not forget either that 
she had never ceased trying. He never tried. He did 
not even consult the ads. in the papers any more. 

Finally, a distinct impression escaped from her. 

" What makes you put so much butter on the steak ? " 
he asked her one evening, standing around in the 
kitchen. 

" To make it good, of course," she answered. 

" Butter is awful dear these days," he suggested. 

" You wouldn't mind it if you were working," she 
answered. 

He shut up after this, and went in to his paper, but 
the retort rankled in his mind. It was the first cutting 
remark that had come from her. 

That same evening, Carrie, after reading, went off 
to the front room to bed. This was unusual. When 
Hurstwood decided to go, he retired, as usual, without 
a light. It was then that he discovered Carrie's 
absence. 

" That's funny," he said ; " maybe she's sitting up." 



394 SISTER CARRIE 

He gave the matter no more thought, but slept. In 
the morning she was not beside him. Strange to say, 
this passed without comment. 

Night approaching, and a slightly more conversa- 
tional feeling prevailing, Carrie said : 

" I think I'll sleep alone to-night. I have a head- 
ache." 

" All right," said Hurstwood. 

The third night she went to her front bed without 
apologies. 

This was a grim blow to Hurstwood, but he never 
mentioned it. 

" All right," he said to himself, with an irrepressible 
frown, " let her sleep alone." 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

A GRIM retrogression: the phantom of chance 

The Varices, who had been back in the city ever since 
Christmas, had not forgotten Carrie ; but they, or rather 
Mrs. Vance, had never called on her, for the very sim- 
ple reason that Carrie had never sent her address. True 
to her nature, she corresponded with Mrs. Vance as 
long as she still lived in Seventy-eighth Street, but 
when she was compelled to move into Thirteenth, her 
fear that the latter would take it as an indication of re- 
duced circumstances caused her to study some way of 
avoiding the necessity of giving her address. Not find- 
ing any convenient method, she sorrowfully resigned 
the privilege of writing to her friend entirely. The lat- 
ter wondered at this strange silence, thought Carrie 
must have left the city, and in the end gave her up as 
lost. So she was thoroughly surprised to encounter 
her in Fourteenth Street, where she had gone shopping. 
Carrie was there for the same purpose. 

" Why, Mrs. Wheeler," said Mrs. Vance, looking 
Carrie over in a glance, " where have you been? Why 
haven't you been to see me? I've been wondering all 
this time what had become of you. Really, I " 

" I'm so glad to see you," said Carrie, pleased and 
yet nonplussed. Of all times, this was the worst to 
encounter Mrs. Vance. " Why, I'm living down town 
here. I've been intending to come and see you. Where 
are you living now? " 



396 SISTER CARRIE 

" In Fifty-eighth Street," said Mrs. Vance, "just off 
Seventh Avenue — 218. Why don't you come and see 
me?" 

" I will," said Carrie. " Really, I've been wanting to 
come. I know I ought to. It's a shame. But you 
know " 

" What's your number? " said Mrs. Vance. 

"Thirteenth Street," said Carrie, reluctantly. " 112 
West." 

" Oh," said Mrs. Vance, " that's right near here, isn't 
it?" 

" Yes," said Carrie. " You must come down and see 
me some time." 

" Well, you're a fine one," said Mrs. Vance, laughing, 
the while noting that Carrie's appearance had modified 
somewhat. " The address, too," she added to herself. 
" They must be hard up." 

Still she liked Carrie well enough to take her in tow. 

" Come with me in here a minute," she exclaimed, 
turning into a store. 

When Carrie returned home, there was Hurstwood, 
reading as usual. He seemed to take his condition 
with the utmost nonchalance. His beard was at least 
four days old. 

" Oh," thought Carrie, " if she were to come here and 
see him ? " 

She shook her head in absolute misery. It looked as 
if her situation was becoming unbearable. 

Driven to desperation, she asked at dinner : 

" Did you ever hear any more from that wholesale 
house? " 

" No," he said. " They don't want an inexperienced 
man." 

Carrie dropped the subject, feeling unable to say 
more. 



SISTER CARRIE 



397 



" I met Mrs. Vance this afternoon," she said, after a 
time. 
• " Did, eh ? " he answered. 

" They're back in New York now," Carrie went on. 
" She did look so nice." 

" Well, she can afford it as long as he puts up for it," 
returned Hurstwood. " He's got a soft job." 

Hurstwood was looking into the paper. He could 
not see the look of infinite weariness and discontent 
Carrie gave him. 

" She said she thought she'd call here some day." 

" She's been long getting round to it, hasn't she?" 
said Hurstwood, with a kind of sarcasm. 

The woman didn't appeal to him from her spending 
side. 

" Oh, I don't know," said Carrie, angered by the 
man's attitude. " Perhaps I didn't want her to 
come." 

" She's too gay," said Hurstwood, significantly. " No 
one can keep up with her pace unless they've got a lot 
of money." 

" Mr. Vance doesn't seem to find it very hard." 

" He may not now," answered Hurstwood, doggedly, 
well understanding the inference ; " but his life isn't 
done yet. You can't tell what'll happen. He may get 
down like anybody else." 

There was something quite knavish in the man's atti- 
tude. His eye seemed to be cocked with a twinkle upon 
the fortunate, expecting their defeat. His own state 
seemed a thing apart — not considered. 

This thing was the remains of his old-time cocksure- 
ness and independence. Sitting in his flat, and read- 
ing of the doings of other people, sometimes this inde- 
pendent, undefeated mood came upon him. Forgetting 
the weariness of the streets and the degradation of 



398 SISTER CARRIE 

search, he would sometimes prick up his ears. It was 
as if he said : 

" I can do something. I'm not down yet. There's 
a lot of things coming to me if I want to go after them." 

It was in this mood that he would occasionally dress 
up, go for a shave, and, putting on his gloves, sally forth 
quite actively. Not with any definite aim. It was 
more a barometric condition. He felt just right for 
being outside and doing something. 

On such occasions, his money went also. He knew 
of several poker rooms down town. A few acquain- 
tances he had in down-town resorts and about the City 
Hall. It was a change to see them and exchange a few 
friendly commonplaces. 

He had once been accustomed to hold a pretty fair 
hand at poker. Many a friendly game had netted him 
a hundred dollars or more at the time when that sum 
was merely sauce to the dish of the game — not the all 
in all. Now, he thought of playing. 

" I might win a couple of hundred. I'm not out of 
practice." 

It is but fair to say that this thought had occurred 
to him several times before he acted upon it. 

The poker room which he first invaded was over a 
saloon in West Street, near one of the ferries. He had 
been there before. Several games were going. These 
he watched for a time and noticed that the pots were 
quite large for the ante involved. 

" Deal me a hand," he said at the beginning of a new 
shuffle. He pulled up a chair and studied his cards. 
Those playing made that quiet study of him which is 
so unapparent, and yet invariably so searching. 

Poor fortune was with him at first. He received a 
mixed collection without progression or pairs. The 
pot was opened. 



SISTER CARRIE 399 

" I pass," he said. 

On the strength of this, he was content to lose his 
ante. The deals did fairly by him in the long run, caus- 
ing him to come away with a few dollars to the good. 

The next afternoon he was back again, seeking 
amusement and profit. This time he followed up three 
of a kind to his doom. There was a better hand across 
the table, held by a pugnacious Irish youth, who was 
a political hanger-on of the Tammany district in which 
they were located. Hurstwood was surprised at the 
persistence of this individual, whose bets came with a 
sang-froid which, if a bluff, was excellent art. Hurst- 
wood began to doubt, but kept, or thought to keep, at 
least, the cool demeanour with which, in olden times, 
he deceived those psychic students of the gaming table, 
who seem to read thoughts and moods, rather than ex- 
terior evidences, however subtle. He could not down 
the cowardly thought that this man had something bet- 
ter and would stay to the end, drawing his last dollar 
into the pot, should he choose to go so far. Still, he 
hoped to win much — his hand was excellent. Why not 
raise it five more? 

" I raise you three," said the youth. 

" Make it five," said Hurstwood, pushing out his chips. 

" Come again," said the youth, pushing out a small 
pile of reds. 

" Let me have some more chips," said Hurstwood to 
the keeper in charge, taking out a bill. 

A cynical grin lit up the face of his youthful oppo- 
nent. When the chips were laid out, Hurstwood met 
the raise. 

■" Five again," said the youth. 

Hurstwood's brow was wet. He was deep in now 
— very deep for him. Sixty dollars of his good money 
was up. He was ordinarily no coward, but the thought 



400 SISTER CARRIE 

of losing so much weakened him. Finally he gave way. 
He would not trust to this fine hand any longer. 

" I call," he said. 

" A full house ! " said the youth, spreading out his 
cards. 

Hurstwood's hand dropped. 

" I thought I had you," he said, weakly. 

The youth raked in his chips, and Hurstwood came 
away, not without first stopping to count his remaining 
cash on the stair. 

" Three hundred and forty dollars," he said. 

With this loss and ordinary expenses, so much had 
already gone. 

Back in the flat, he decided he would play no more. 

Remembering Mrs. Vance's promise to call, Carrie 
made one other mild protest. It was concerning Hurst- 
wood's appearance. This very day, coming home, he 
changed his clothes to the old togs he sat around in. 

" What makes you always put on those old clothes ? " 
asked Carrie. 

" What's the use wearing my good ones around 
here? " he asked. 

" Well, I should think you'd feel better." Then she 
added : " Some one might call." 

"Who?" he said. 

" Well, Mrs. Vance," said Carrie. 

" She needn't see me," he answered, sullenly. 

This lack of pride and interest made Carrie almost 
hate him. 

" Oh," she thought, " there he sits. ' She needn't see 
me.' I should think he would be ashamed of himself." 

The real bitterness of this thing was added when 
Mrs. Vance did call. It was on one of her shopping 
rounds. Making her way up the commonplace hall, 
she knocked at Carrie's door. To her subsequent and 



SISTER CARRIE 



401 



agonising distress, Carrie was out. Hurstwood opened 
the door, half-thinking that the knock was Carrie's. 
For once, he was taken honestly aback. The lost voice 
of youth and pride spoke in him. 

" Why," he said, actually stammering, " how do you 
do?" 

"How do you do?" said Mrs. Vance, who could 
scarcely believe her eyes. His great confusion she in- 
stantly perceived. He did not know whether to invite 
her in or not. 

" Is your wife at home? " she inquired. 

" No," he said, " Carrie's out; but won't you step in? 
She'll be back shortly." 

" No-o," said Mrs. Vance, realising the change of it 
all. " I'm really very much in a hurry. I thought I'd 
just run up and look in, but I couldn't stay. Just tell 
your wife she must come and see me." 

" I will," said Hurstwood, standing back, and feeling 
intense relief at her going. He was so ashamed that he 
folded his hands weakly, as he sat in the chair after- 
wards, and thought. 

Carrie, coming in from another direction, thought she 
saw Mrs. Vance going away. She strained her eyes, 
but could not make sure. 

" Was anybody here just now? " she asked of Hurst- 
wood. 

" Yes," he said guiltily ; " Mrs. Vance." 

" Did she see you ? " she asked, expressing her full 
despair. 

This cut Hurstwood like a whip, and made him 
sullen. 

" If she had eyes, she did. I opened the door." 

" Oh," said Carrie, closing one hand tightly out of 
sheer nervousness. " What did she have to say? " 

" Nothing," he answered. " She couldn't stay." 
26 



402 SISTER CARRIE 

" And you looking like that ! " said Carrie, throwing 
aside a long reserve. 

" What of it? " he said, angering. " I didn't know she 
was coming, did I ? " 

" You knew she might," said Carrie. " I told you she 
said she was coming. I've asked you a dozen times to 
wear your other clothes. Oh, I think this is just ter- 
rible." 

" Oh, let up," he answered. " What difference does 
it make? You couldn't associate with her, anyway. 
They've got too much money." 

" Who said I wanted to ? " said Carrie, fiercely. 

" Well, you act like it, rowing around over my looks. 
You'd think I'd committed " 

Carrie interrupted : 

" It's true," she said. " I couldn't if I wanted to, but 
whose fault is it ? You're very free to sit and talk about 
who I could associate with. Why don't you get out 
and look for work ? " 

This was a thunderbolt in camp. 

" What's it to you? " he said, rising, almost fiercely. 
" I pay the rent, don't I ? I furnish the " 

" Yes, you pay the rent," said Carrie. " You talk as 
if there was nothing else in the world but a flat to sit 
around in. You haven't done a thing for three months 
except sit around and interfere here. I'd like to know 
what you married me for? " 

" I didn't marry you," he said, in a snarling tone. 

" I'd like to know what you did, then, in Montreal ? " 
she answered. 

" Well, I didn't marry you," he answered. " You can 
get that out of your head. You talk as though you 
didn't know." 

Carrie looked at him a moment, her eyes distending. 
She had believed it was all legal and binding enough. 



SISTER CARRIE 403 

" What did you lie to me for, then ? " she asked, 
fiercely. " What did you force me to run away with 
you for ? " 

Her voice became almost a sob. 

" Force ! " he said, with curled lip. " A lot of forc- 
ing I did." 

" Oh ! " said Carrie, breaking under the strain, and 
turning. " Oh, oh ! " and she hurried into the front 
room. 

Hurstwood was now hot and waked up. It was a 
great shaking up for him, both mental and moral. He 
wiped his brow as he looked around, and then went for 
his clothes and dressed. Not a sound came from Car- 
rie; she ceased sobbing when she heard him dressing. 
She thought, at first, with the faintest alarm, of being 
left without money — not of losing him, though he 
might be going away permanently. She heard him 
open the top of the wardrobe and take out his hat. Then 
the dining-room door closed, and she knew he had gone. 

After a few moments of silence, she stood up, dry- 
eyed, and looked out the window. Hurstwood was 
just strolling up the street, from the flat, toward Sixth 
Avenue. 

The latter made progress along Thirteenth and 
across Fourteenth Street to Union Square. 

" Look for work ! " he said to himself. " Look for 
work ! She tells me to get out and look for work." 

He tried to shield himself from his own mental accu- 
sation, which told him that she was right. 

"What a cursed thing that Mrs. Vance's call was, 
anyhow," he thought. " Stood right there, and looked 
me over. I know what she was thinking." 

He remembered the few times he had seen her in 
Seventy-eighth Street. She was always a swell-looker, 
and he had tried to put on the air of being worthy of 



404 



SISTER CARRIE 



such as she, in front of her. Now, to think she had 
caught him looking this way. He wrinkled his fore- 
head in his distress. 

" The devil ! " he said a dozen times in an hour. 

It was a quarter after four when he left the house. 
Carrie was in tears. There would be no dinner that 
night. 

" What the deuce," he said, swaggering mentally to 
hide his own shame from himself. " I'm not so bad. 
I'm not down yet." 

He looked around the square, and seeing the sev- 
eral large hotels, decided to go to one for dinner. He 
would get his papers and make himself comfortable 
there. 

He ascended into the fine parlour of the Morton 
House, then one of the best New York hotels, and, find- 
ing a cushioned seat, read. It did not trouble him much 
that his decreasing sum of money did not allow of such 
extravagance. Like the morphine fiend, he was be- 
coming addicted to his ease. Anything to relieve his 
mental distress, to satisfy his craving for comfort. He 
must do it. No thoughts for the morrow — he could 
not stand to think of it any more than he could of any 
other calamity. Like the certainty of death, he tried 
to shut the certainty of soon being without a dollar 
completely out of his mind, and he came very near 
doing it. 

Well-dressed guests moving to and fro over the thick 
carpets carried him back to the old days. A young 
lady, a guest of the house, playing a piano in an alcove 
pleased him. He sat there reading. 

His dinner cost him $1.50. By eight o'clock he 
was through, and then, seeing guests leaving and the 
crowd of pleasure-seekers thickening outside, won- 
dered where he should go. Not home. Carrie would 



SISTER CARRIE 405 

be up. No, he would not go back there this evening. 
He would stay out and knock around as a man who was 
independent — not broke — well might. He bought a 
cigar, and went outside on the corner where other in- 
dividuals were lounging — brokers, racing people, thes- 
pians — his own flesh and blood. As he stood there, he 
thought of the old evenings in Chicago, and how he 
used to dispose of them. Many's the game he had had. 
This took him to poker. 

" I didn't do that thing right the other day," he 
thought, referring to his loss of sixty dollars. " I 
shouldn't have weakened. I could have bluffed that 
fellow down. I wasn't in form, that's what ailed me." 

Then he studied the possibilities of the game as it had 
been played, and began to figure how he might have 
won, in several instances, by bluffing a little harder. 

" I'm old enough to play poker and do something 
with it. I'll try my hand to-night." 

Visions of a big stake floated before him. Suppos- 
ing he did win a couple of hundred, wouldn't he be in 
it? Lots of sports he knew made their living at this 
game, and a good living, too. 

" They always had as much as I had," he thought. 

So off he went to a poker room in the neighbourhood, 
feeling much as he had in the old days. In this period 
of self-forgetfulness, aroused first by the shock of argu- 
ment and perfected by a dinner in the hotel, with cock- 
tails and cigars, he was as nearly like the old Hurst- 
wood as he would ever be again. It was not the old 
Hurstwood — only a man arguing with a divided con- 
science and lured by a phantom. 

This poker room was much like the other one, only 
it was a back room in a better drinking resort. Hurst- 
wood watched a while, and then, seeing an interesting 
game, joined in. As before, it went easy for a while, 



4 o6 SISTER CARRIE 

he winning a few times and cheering up, losing a few 
pots and growing more interested and determined on 
that account. At last the fascinating game took a 
strong hold on him. He enjoyed its risks and ventured, 
on a trifling hand, to bluff the company and secure a 
fair stake. To his self-satisfaction intense and strong, 
he did it. 

In the height of this feeling he began to think his 
luck was with him. No one else had done so well. 
Now came another moderate hand, and again he tried 
to open the jack-pot on it. There were others there 
who were almost reading his heart, so close was their 
observation. 

" I have three of a kind," said one of the players to 
himself. " I'll just stay with that fellow to the finish." 

The result was that bidding began. 

" I raise you ten." 

" Good." 

" Ten more." 

" Good." 

" Ten again." 

" Right you are." 

It got to where Hurstwood had seventy-five dollars 
up. The other man really became serious. Perhaps 
this individual (Hurstwood) really did have a stiff 
hand. 

" I call," he said. 

Hurstwood showed his hand. He was done. The 
bitter fact that he had lost seventy-five dollars made 
him desperate. 

" Let's have another pot," he said, grimly. 

" All right," said the man. 

Some of the other players quit, but observant loung- 
ers took their places. Time passed, and it came to 
twelve o'clock. Hurstwood held on, neither winning 



SISTER CARRIE 407 

nor losing much. Then he grew weary, and on a last 
hand lost twenty more. He was sick at heart. 

At a quarter after one in the morning he came out of 
the place. The chill, bare streets seemed a mockery of 
his state. He walked slowly west, little thinking of his 
row with Carrie. He ascended the stairs and went 
into his room as if there had been no trouble. It was 
his loss that occupied his mind. Sitting down on the 
bedside he counted his money. There was now but a 
hundred and ninety dollars and some change. He put 
it up and began to undress. 

" I wonder what's getting into me, anyhow? " he said. 

In the morning Carrie scarcely spoke, and he felt as 
if he must go out again. He had treated her badly, but 
he could not afford to make up. Now desperation 
seized him, and for a day or two, going out thus, he lived 
like a gentleman — or what he conceived to be a gentle- 
man — which took money. For his escapades he was 
soon poorer in mind and body, to say nothing of his 
purse, which had lost thirty by the process. Then he 
came down to cold, bitter sense again. 

" The rent man comes to-day," said Carrie, greeting 
him thus indifferently three mornings later. 

"He does?" 

" Yes ; this is the second," answered Carrie. 

Hurstwood frowned. Then in despair he got out 
his purse. 

" It seems an awful lot to pay for rent," he said. 

He was nearing his last hundred dollars. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

THE SPIRIT AWAKENS : NEW SEARCH FOR THE GATE 

It would be useless to explain how in due time the 
last fifty dollars was in sight. The seven hundred, by 
his process of handling, had only carried them into 
June. Before the final hundred mark was reached he 
began to indicate that a calamity was approaching. 

" I don't know," he said one day, taking a trivial 
expenditure for meat as a text, " it seems to take an 
awful lot for us to live." 

" It doesn't seem to me," said Carrie, " that we spend 
very much." 

" My money is nearly gone," he said, " and I hardly 
know where it's gone to." 

" All that seven hundred dollars ? " asked Carrie. 

"> All but a hundred." 

He looked so disconsolate that it scared her. She 
began to see that she herself had been drifting. She 
had felt it all the time. 

" Well, George," she exclaimed, " why don't you get 
out and look for something? You could find some- 
thing." 

" I have looked," he said. " You can't make people 
give you a place." 

She gazed weakly at him and said : " Well, what do 
you think you will do? A hundred dollars won't last 
long." 

" I don't know," he said. " I can't do any more than 
look." 



SISTER CARRIE 



409 



Carrie became frightened over this announcement. 
She thought desperately upon the subject. Frequently 
she had considered the stage as a door through which 
she might enter that gilded state which she had so much 
craved. Now, as in Chicago, it came as a last resource 
in distress. Something must be done if he did not get 
work soon. Perhaps she would have to go out and 
battle again alone. 

She began to wonder how one would go about get- 
ting a place. Her experience in Chicago proved that 
she had not tried the right way. There must be people 
who would listen to and try you — men who would give 
you an opportunity. 

They were talking at the breakfast table, a morning 
or two later, when she brought up the dramatic sub- 
ject by saying that she saw that Sarah Bernhardt 
was coming to this country. Hurstwood had seen 
it, too. 

" How do people get on the stage, George ? " she 
finally asked, innocently. 

" I don't know," he said. " There must be dramatic 
agents." 

Carrie was sipping coffee, and did not look up. 

" Regular people who get you a place? " 

" Yes, I think so," he answered. 

Suddenly the air with which she asked attracted his 
attention. 

" You're not still thinking about being an actress, are 
you? " he asked. 

" No," she answered, " I was just wondering." 

Without being clear, there was something in the 
thought which he objected to. He did not believe any 
more, after three years of observation, that Carrie would 
ever do anything great in that line. She seemed too 
simple, too yielding. His idea of the art was that it 



410 SISTER CARRIE 

involved something more pompous. If she tried to 
get on the stage she would fall into the hands of some 
cheap manager and become like the rest of them. He 
had a good idea of what he meant by them. Carrie was 
pretty. She would get along all right, but where would 
he be? 

" I'd get that idea out of my head, if I were you. It's 
a lot more difficult than you think." 

Carrie felt this to contain, in some way, an aspersion 
upon her ability. 

" You said I did real well in Chicago," she rejoined. 

" You did," he answered, seeing that he was arousing 
opposition, " but Chicago isn't New York, by a big 
jump." 

Carrie did not answer this at all. It hurt her. 

" The stage," he went on, " is all right if you can be 
one of the big guns, but there's nothing to the rest of it. 
It takes a long while to get up." 

" Oh, I don't know," said Carrie, slightly aroused. 

In a flash, he thought he foresaw the result of this 
thing. Now, when the worst of his situation was ap- 
proaching, she would get on the stage in some cheap 
way and forsake him. Strangely, he had not conceived 
well of her mental ability. That was because he did 
not understand the nature of emotional greatness. He 
had never learned that a person might be emotionally — ' 
instead of intellectually — great. Avery Hall was too 
far away for him to look back and sharply remember. 
He had lived with this woman too long. 

" Well, I do," he answered. " If I were you I 
wouldn't think of it. It's not much of a profession 
for a woman." 

" It's better than going hungry," said Carrie. " If 
you don't want me to do that, why don't you get work 
yourself? " 



SISTER CARRIE 411 

There was no answer ready for this. He had got 
used to the suggestion. 

" Oh, let up," he answered. 

The result of this was that she secretly resolved to 
try. It didn't matter about him. She was not going 
to be dragged into poverty and something worse to 
suit him. She could act. She could get something 
and then work up. What would he say then? She 
pictured herself already appearing in some fine per- 
formance on Broadway ; of going every evening to her 
dressing-room and making up. Then she would come 
out at eleven o'clock and see the carriages ranged about, 
waiting for the people. It did not matter whether she 
was the star or not. If she were only once in, getting a 
decent salary, wearing the kind of clothes she liked, 
having the money to do with, going here and there as 
she pleased, how delightful it would all be. Her mind 
ran over this picture all the day long. Hurstwood's 
dreary state made its beauty become more and more 
vivid. 

Curiously this idea soon took hold of Hurstwood. 
His vanishing sum suggested that he would need sus- 
tenance. Why could not Carrie assist him a little until 
he could get something? 

He came in one day with something of this idea in his 
mind. 

" I met John B. Drake to-day," he said. " He's going 
to open a hotel here in the fall. He says that he can 
make a place for me then." 

"Who is he?" asked Carrie. 

" He's the man that runs the Grand Pacific in 
Chicago." 

" Oh," said Carrie. 

" I'd get about fourteen hundred a year out of 
that." 



412 SISTER CARRIE 

"That would be good, wouldn't it? " she said, sym- 
pathetically. 

" If I can only get over this summer," he added, " I 
think I'll be all right. I'm hearing from some of my 
friends again." 

Carrie swallowed this story in all its pristine beauty. 
She sincerely wished he could get through the summer. 
He looked so hopeless. 

" How much money have you left? " 

" Only fifty dollars." 

"Oh, mercy," she exclaimed, "what will we do? 
It's only twenty days until the rent will be due again." 

Hurstwood rested his head on his hands and looked 
blankly at the floor. 

" Maybe you could get something in the stage line? " 
he blandly suggested. 

" Maybe I could," said Carrie, glad that some one 
approved of the idea. 

" I'll lay my hand to whatever I can get," he said, 
now that he saw her brighten up. " I can get some- 
thing." 

She cleaned up the things one morning after he had 
gone, dressed as neatly as her wardrobe permitted, and 
set out for Broadway. She did not know that thorough- 
fare very well. To her it was a wonderful conglomera- 
tion of everything great and mighty. The theatres were 
there — these agencies must be somewhere about. 

She decided to stop in at the Madison Square Theatre 
and ask how to find the theatrical agents. This seemed 
the sensible way. Accordingly, when she reached that 
theatre she applied to the clerk at the box office. 

" Eh? " he said, looking out. " Dramatic agents? I 
don't know. You'll find them in the ' Clipper,' though. 
They all advertise in that." 

" Is that a paper ? " said Carrie. 



SISTER CARRIE 413 

" Yes," said the clerk, marvelling at such ignorance 
of a common fact. " You can get it at the news-stands," 
he added politely, seeing how pretty the inquirer 
was. 

Carrie proceeded to get the " Clipper," and tried to 
find the agents by looking over it as she stood beside the 
stand. This could not be done so easily. Thirteenth 
Street was a number of blocks off, but she went back, 
carrying the precious paper and regretting the waste 
of time. 

Hurstwood was already there, sitting in his place. 

" Where were you ? " he asked. 

" I've been trying to find some dramatic agents." 

He felt a little diffident about asking concerning her 
success. The paper she began to scan attracted his 
attention. 

" What have you got there? " he asked. 

" The i Clipper.' The man said I'd find their ad- 
dresses in here." 

" Have you been all the way over to Broadway to 
find that out? I could have told you." 

"Why didn't you?" she asked, without looking up. 

" You never asked me," he returned. 

She went hunting aimlessly through the crowded 
columns. Her mind was distracted by this man's in- 
difference. The difficulty of the situation she was fac- 
ing was only added to by all he did. Self-commisera- 
tion brewed in her heart. Tears trembled along her 
eyelids but did not fall. Hurstwood noticed something. 

"Let me look." 

To recover herself she went into the front room 
while he searched. Presently she returned. He had 
a pencil, and was writing upon an envelope. 

" Here 're three," he said. 

Carrie took it and found that one was Mrs. Bermudez, 



414 SISTER CARRIE 

another Marcus Jenks, a third Percy Weil. She paused 
only a moment, and then moved toward the door. 

" I might as well go right away," she said, without 
looking back. 

Hurstwood saw her depart with some faint stirrings 
of shame, which were the expression of a manhood 
rapidly becoming stultified. He sat a while, and then 
it became too much. He got up and put on his hat. 

" I guess I'll go out," he said to himself, and went, 
strolling nowhere in particular, but feeling somehow 
that he must go. 

Carrie's first call was upon Mrs. Bermudez, whose 
address was quite the nearest. It was an old-fashioned 
residence turned into offices. Mrs. Bermudez's offices 
consisted of what formerly had been a back chamber 
and a hall bedroom, marked " Private." 

As Carrie entered she noticed several persons loung- 
ing about — men, who said nothing and did nothing. 

While she was waiting to be noticed, the door of the 
hall bedroom opened and from it issued two very man- 
nish-looking women, very tightly dressed, and wearing 
white collars and cuffs. After them came a portly lady 
of about forty-five, light-haired, sharp-eyed, and evi- 
dently good-natured. At least she was smiling. 

" Now, don't forget about that," said one of the man- 
nish women. 

" I won't," said the portly woman. " Let's see," she 
added, " where are you the first week in February? " 

" Pittsburg," said the woman. 

" I'll write you there:" 

" All right," said the other, and the two passed 
out. 

Instantly the portly lady's face became exceedingly 
sober and shrewd. She turned about and fixed on 
Carrie a very searching eye. 



SISTER CARRIE 415 

" Well," she said, " young woman, what can I do for 
you?" 

"Are you Mrs. Bermudez?" 

" Yes." 

" Well," said Carrie, hesitating how to begin, " do 
you get places for persons upon the stage ? " 

"Yes." 

" Could you get me one? " 

" Have you ever had any experience ? " 

" A very little," said Carrie. 

" Whom did you play with? " 

" Oh, with no one," said Carrie. " It was just a 
show gotten " 

" Oh, I see," said the woman, interrupting her. " No, 
I don't know of anything now." 

Carrie's countenance fell. 

" You want to get some New York experience," con- 
cluded the affable Mrs. Bermudez. " We'll take your 
name, though." 

Carrie stood looking while the lady retired to her 
office. 

" What is your address ? " inquired a young lady 
behind the counter, taking up the curtailed conver- 
sation. 

" Mrs. George Wheeler," said Carrie, moving over to 
where she was writing. The woman wrote her ad- 
dress in full and then allowed her to depart at her 
leisure. 

She encountered averysimilar experience in the office 
of Mr. Jenks, only he varied it by saying at the close : 
" If you could play at some local house, or had a 
programme with your name on it, I might do some- 
thing." 

In the third place the individual asked : 

" What sort of work do you want to do ? " 



4l6 SISTER CARRIE 

" What do you mean ? " said Carrie. 

" Well, do you want to get in a comedy or on the 
vaudeville stage or in the chorus ? " 

" Oh, I'd like to get a part in a play," said Carrie. 

" Well," said the man, " it'll cost you something to 
do that." 

" How much? " said Carrie, who, ridiculous as it may 
seem, had not thought of this before. 

" Well, that's for you to say," he answered shrewdly. 

Carrie looked at him curiously. She hardly knew 
how to continue the inquiry. 

" Could you get me a part if I paid? " 

" If we didn't you'd get your money back." 

" Oh," she said. 

The agent saw he was dealing with an inexperienced 
soul, and continued accordingly. 

" You'd want to deposit fifty dollars, any way. No 
agent would trouble about you for less than that." 

Carrie saw a light. 

" Thank you," she said. " I'll think about it." 

She started to go, and then bethought herself. 

" How soon would I get a place? " she asked. 

" Well, that's hard to say," said the man. " You 
might get one in a week, or it might be a month. You'd 
get the first thing that we thought you could do." 

" I see," said Carrie, and then, half-smiling to be 
agreeable, she walked out. 

The agent studied a moment, and then said to him- 
self: 

" It's funny how anxious these women are to get on 
the stage." 

Carrie found ample food for reflection in the fifty- 
dollar proposition. " Maybe they'd take my money and 
not give me anything," she thought. She had some jew- 
elry — a diamond ring and pin and several other pieces. 



SISTER CARRIE 417 

She could get fifty dollars for those if she went to a 
pawnbroker. 

Hurstwood was home before her. He had not 
thought she would be so long seeking. 

" Well ? " he said, not venturing to ask what news. 

" I didn't find out anything to-day," said Carrie, tak- 
ing off her gloves. " They all want money to get you 
a place." 

" How much ? " asked Hurstwood. 

" Fifty dollars." 

" They don't want anything, do they? " 

" Oh, they're like everybody else. You can't tell 
whether they'd ever get you anything after you did 
pay them." 

" Well, I wouldn't put up fifty on that basis," said 
Hurstwood, as if he were deciding, money in hand. 

" I don't know," said Carrie. " I think I'll try some 
of the managers." 

Hurstwood heard this, dead to the horror of it. He 
rocked a little to and fro, and chewed at his finger. It 
seemed all very natural in such extreme states. He 
would do better later on. 
27 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

IN ELF LAND DISPORTING: THE GRIM WORLD WITHOUT 

When Carrie renewed her search, as she did the next 
day, going to the Casino, she found that in the opera 
chorus, as in other fields, employment is difficult to 
secure. Girls who can stand in a line and look pretty 
are as numerous as labourers who can swing a pick. 
She found there was no discrimination between one and 
the other of applicants, save as regards a conventional 
standard of prettiness and form. Their own opinion 
or knowledge of their ability went for nothing. 

" Where shall I find Mr. Gray? " she asked of a sulky 
doorman at the stage entrance of the Casino. 

" You can't see him now ; he's busy." 

" Do you know when I can see him ? " 

" Got an appointment with him ? " 

" No." 

" Well, you'll have to call at his office." 

" Oh, dear ! " exclaimed Carrie. " Where is his 
office?" 

He gave her the number. 

She knew there was no need of calling there now. 
He would not be in. Nothing remained but to employ 
the intermediate hours in search. 

The dismal story of ventures in other places is 
quickly told. Mr. Daly saw no one save by appoint- 
ment. Carrie waited an hour in a dingy office, quite in 
spite of obstacles, to learn this fact of the placid, in- 
different Mr. Dorney. 



SISTER CARRIE 



419 



" You will have to write and ask him to see you." 

So she went away. 

At the Empire Theatre she found a hive of peculiarly 
listless and indifferent individuals. Everything or- 
nately upholstered, everything carefully finished, every- 
thing remarkably reserved. 

At the Lyceum she entered one of those secluded, 
under-stairway closets, berugged and bepanneled, 
which causes one to feel the greatness of all positions 
of authority. Here was reserve itself done into a box- 
office clerk, a doorman, and an assistant, glorying in 
their fine positions. 

" Ah, be very humble now — very humble indeed. 
Tell us what it is you require. Tell it quickly, ner- 
vously, and without a vestige of self-respect. If no 
trouble to us in any way, we may see what we can do." 

This was the atmosphere of the Lyceum — the atti- 
tude, for that matter, of every managerial office in the 
city. These little proprietors of businesses are lords 
indeed on their own ground. 

Carrie came away wearily, somewhat more abashed 
for her pains. 

Hurstwood heard the details of the weary and un- 
availing search that evening. 

" I didn't get to see any one," said Carrie. " I just 
walked, and walked, and waited around." 

Hurstwood only looked at her. 

" I suppose you have to have some friends before 
you can get in," she added, disconsolately. 

Hurstwood saw the difficulty of this thing, and yet 
it did not seem so terrible. Carrie was tired and dis- 
pirited, but now she could rest. Viewing the world 
from his rocking-chair, its bitterness did not seem to 
approach so rapidly. To-morrow was another day. 

To-morrow came, and the next, and the next. 



420 SISTER CARRIE 

Carrie saw the manager at the Casino once. 

" Come around," he said, " the first of next week. I 
may make some changes then." 

He was a large and corpulent individual, surfeited 
with good clothes and good eating, who judged women 
as another would horseflesh. Carrie was pretty and 
graceful. She might be put in even if she did not have 
any experience. One of the proprietors had suggested 
that the chorus was a little weak on looks. 

The first of next week was some days off yet. The 
first of the month was drawing near. Carrie began to 
worry as she had never worried before. 

" Do you really look for anything when you go out ? " 
she asked Hurstwood one morning as a climax to some 
painful thoughts of her own. 

" Of course I do," he said pettishly, troubling only a 
little over the disgrace of the insinuation. 

" I'd take anything," she said, " for the present. It 
will soon be the first of the month again." 

She looked the picture of despair. 

Hurstwood quit reading his paper and changed his 
clothes. 

" He would look for something," he thought. " He 
would go and see if some brewery couldn't get him in 
somewhere. Yes, he would take a position as bar- 
tender, if he could get it." 

It was the same sort of pilgrimage he had made be- 
fore. One or two slight rebuffs, and the bravado dis- 
appeared. 

" No use," he thought. " I might as well go on back 
home." 

Now that his money was so low, he began to observe 
his clothes and feel that even his best ones were begin- 
ning to look commonplace. This was a bitter thought. 

Carrie came in after he did. 



SISTER CARRIE 421 

" I went to see some of the variety managers," she 
said, aimlessly. " You have to have an act. They 
don't want anybody that hasn't." 

" I saw some of the brewery people to-day," said 
Hurstwood. " One man told me he'd try to make a 
place for me in two or three weeks." 

In the face of so much distress on Carrie's part, he 
had to make some showing, and it was thus he did so. 
It was lassitude's apology to energy. 

Monday Carrie went again to the Casino. 

" Did I tell you to come around to-day ? " said the 
manager, looking her over as she stood before him. 

" You said the first of the week," said Carrie, greatly 
abashed. 

" Ever had any experience? " he asked again, almost 
severely. 

Carrie owned to ignorance. 

He looked her over again as he stirred among some 
papers. He was secretly pleased with this pretty, dis- 
turbed-looking young woman. " Come around to the 
theatre to-morrow morning." 

Carrie's heart bounded to her throat. 

" I will," she said with difficulty. She could see he 
wanted her, and turned to go. 

" Would he really put her to work ? Oh, blessed for- 
tune, could it be?" 

Already the hard rumble of the city through the open 
windows became pleasant. 

A sharp voice answered her mental interrogation, 
driving away all immediate fears on that score. 

" Be sure you're there promptly," the manager said 
roughly. " You'll be dropped if you're not." 

Carrie hastened away. She did not quarrel now with 
Hurstwood's idleness. She had a place — she had a 
place ! This sang in her ears. 



422 SISTER CARRIE 

In her delight she was almost anxious to tell Hurst- 
wood. But, as she walked homeward, and her survey 
of the facts of the case became larger, she began to 
think of the anomaly of her finding work in several 
weeks and his lounging in idleness for a number of 
months. 

" Why don't he get something? " she openly said to 
herself. " If I can he surely ought to. It wasn't very 
hard for me." 

She forgot her youth and her beauty. The handicap 
of age she did not, in her enthusiasm, perceive. 

Thus, ever, the voice of success. 

Still, she could not keep her secret. She tried to be 
calm and indifferent, but it was a palpable sham. 

" Well? " he said, seeing her relieved face. 

" I have a place." 

" You have? " he said, breathing a better breath. 

" Yes." 

" What sort of a place is it? " he asked, feeling in his 
veins as if now he might get something good also. 

" In the chorus," she answered. 

" Is it the Casino show you told me about? " 

" Yes," she answered. "I begin rehearsing to- 
morrow." 

There was more explanation volunteered by Carrie, 
because she was happy. At last Hurstwood said : 

" Do you know how much you'll get? " 

" No, I didn't want to ask," said Carrie. " I guess 
they pay twelve or fourteen dollars a week." 

" About that, I guess," said Hurstwood. 

There was a good dinner in the flat that evening, 
owing to the mere lifting of the terrible strain. Hurst- 
wood went out for a shave, and returned with a fair- 
sized sirloin steak. 

" Now, to-morrow," he thought, " I'll look around 



SISTER CARRIE 423 

myself," and with renewed hope he lifted his eyes from 
the ground. 

On the morrow Carrie reported promptly and was 
given a place in the line. She saw a large, empty, 
shadowy play-house, still redolent of the perfumes and 
blazonry of the night, and notable for its rich, oriental 
appearance. The wonder of it awed and delighted her. 
Blessed be its wondrous reality. How- hard she would 
try to be worthy of it. It was above the common mass, 
above idleness, above want, above insignificance. 
People came to it in finery and carriages to see. It 
was ever a centre of light and mirth. And here she 
was of it. Oh, if she could only remain, how happy 
would be her days ! 

" What is your name? " said the manager, who was 
conducting the drill. 

" Madenda," she replied, instantly mindful of the 
name Drouet had selected in Chicago. " Carrie 
Madenda." 

" Well, now, Miss Madenda," he said, very affably, 
as Carrie thought, " you go over there." 

Then he called to a young woman who was already 
of the company : 

" Miss Clark, you pair with Miss Madenda." 

This young lady stepped forward, so that Carrie saw 
where to go, and the rehearsal began. 

Carrie soon found that while this drilling had some 
slight resemblance to the rehearsals as conducted at 
Avery Hall, the attitude of the manager was much more 
pronounced. She had marvelled at the insistence and 
superior airs of Mr. Millice, but the individual con- 
ducting here had the same insistence, coupled with al- 
most brutal roughness. As the drilling proceeded, he 
seemed to wax exceedingly wroth over trifles, and to 
increase his lung power in proportion. It was very 



424 SISTER CARRIE 

evident that he had a great contempt for any assump- 
tion of dignity or innocence on the part of these young 
women. 

" Clark," he would call — meaning, of course, Miss 
Clark — " why don't you catch step there ? " 

" By fours, right ! Right, I said, right ! For heav- 
en's sake, get on to yourself ! Right ! " and in saying 
this he would lift the last sounds into a vehement roar. 

" Maitland ! Maitland ! " he called once. 

A nervous, comely-dressed little girl stepped out. 
Carrie trembled for her out of the fulness of her own 
sympathies and fear. 

" Yes, sir," said Miss Maitland. 

" Is there anything the matter with your ears ? " 

" No, sir." 

" Do you know what ' column left ' means ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, what are you stumbling around the right for? 
Want to break up the line? " 

" I was just " 

" Never mind what you were just. Keep your ears 
open." 

Carrie pitied, and trembled for her turn. 

Yet another suffered the pain of personal rebuke. 

" Hold on a minute," cried the manager, throwing 
up his hands, as if in despair. His demeanour was 
fierce. 

" Elvers," he shouted, " what have you got in your 
mouth ? " 

" Nothing," said Miss Elvers, while some smiled and 
stood nervously by. 

"Well, are you talking?" 

" No, sir." 

" Well, keep your mouth still then. Now, all to- 
gether again." 



SISTER CARRIE 425 

At last Carrie's turn came. It was because of her 
extreme anxiety to do all that was required that 
brought on the trouble. 

She heard some one called. 

" Mason," said the voice. " Miss Mason." 

She looked around to see who it could be. A girl 
behind shoved her a little, but she did not under- 
stand. 

" You, you ! " said the manager. " Can't you hear ? " 

" Oh," said Carrie, collapsing, and blushing fiercely. 

" Isn't your name Mason? " asked the manager. 

" No, sir," said Carrie, " it's Madenda." 

" Well, what's the matter with your feet ? Can't you 
dance ? " 

" Yes, sir," said Carrie, who had long since learned 
this art. 

"Why don't you do it then? Don't go shuffling 
along as if you were dead. I've got to have people 
with life in them." 

Carrie's cheek burned with a crimson heat. Her lips 
trembled a little. 

" Yes, sir," she said. 

It was this constant urging, coupled with irascibility 
and energy, for three long hours. Carrie came away 
worn enough in body, but too excited in mind to notice 
it. She meant to go home and practise her evolutions 
as prescribed. She would not err in any way, if she 
could help it. 

When she reached the flat Hurstwood was not there. 
For a wonder he was out looking for work, as she sup- 
posed. She took only a mouthful to eat and then prac- 
tised on, sustained by visions of freedom from financial 
distress — " The sound of glory ringing in her ears." 

When Hurstwood returned he was not so elated as 
when he went away, and now she was obliged to drop 



426 SISTER CARRIE 

practice and get dinner. Here was an early irritation. 
She would have her work and this. Was she going to 
act and keep house? 

" I'll not do it," she said, "after I get started. He 
can take his meals out." 

Each day thereafter brought its cares. She found it 
was not such a wonderful thing to be in the chorus, and 
she also learned that her salary would be twelve dollars 
a week. After a few days she had her first sight of 
those high and mighties — the leading ladies and gentle- 
men. She saw that they were privileged and deferred 
to. She was nothing — absolutely nothing at all. 

At home was Hurstwood, daily giving her cause for 
thought. He seemed to get nothing to do, and yet he 
made bold to inquire how she was getting along. The 
regularity with which he did this smacked of some one 
who was waiting to live upon her labour. Now that 
she had a visible means of support, this irritated her. 
He seemed to be depending upon her little twelve 
dollars. 

"How are you getting along?" he would blandly 
inquire. 

" Oh, all right," she would reply. 

"Find it easy?" 

" It will be all right when I get used to it." 

His paper would then engross his thoughts. 

" I got some lard," he would add, as an afterthought. 
" I thought maybe you might want to make some 
biscuit." 

The calm suggestion of the man astonished her a 
little, especially in the light of recent developments. 
Her dawning independence gave her more courage to 
observe, and she felt as if she wanted to say things. 
Still she could not talk to him as she had to Drouet. 
There was something in the man's manner of which she 



SISTER CARRIE 427 

had always stood in awe. He seemed to have some in- 
visible strength in reserve. 

One day, after her first week's rehearsal, what she 
expected came openly to the surface. 

" We'll have to be rather saving," he said, laying 
down some meat he had purchased. " You won't get 
any money for a week or so yet." 

" No," said Carrie, who was stirring a pan at the 
stove. 

" I've only got the rent and thirteen dollars more," 
he added. 

" That's it," she said to herself. " I'm to use my 
money now." 

Instantly she remembered that she had hoped to buy 
a few things for herself. She needed clothes. Her hat 
was not nice. 

" What will twelve dollars do towards keeping up 
this flat? " she thought. " I can't do it. Why doesn't 
he get something to do ? " 

, The important night of the first real performance 
came. She did not suggest to Hurstwood that he come 
and see. He did not think of going. It would only be 
money wasted. She had such a small part. 

The advertisements were already in the papers ; the 
posters upon the bill-boards. The leading lady and 
many members were cited. Carrie was nothing. 

As in Chicago, she was seized with stage fright as 
the very first entrance of the ballet approached, but 
later she recovered. The apparent and painful insig- 
nificance of the part took fear away from her. She 
felt that she was so obscure it did not matter. For- 
tunately, she did not have to wear tights. A group of 
twelve were assigned pretty golden-hued skirts which 
came only to a line about an inch above the knee. 
Carrie happened to be one of the twelve. 



428 SISTER CARRIE 

In standing about the stage, marching, and occasion- 
ally lifting up her voice in the general chorus, she had 
a chance to observe the audience and to see the in- 
auguration of a great hit. There was plenty of ap- 
plause, but she could not help noting how poorly some 
of the women of alleged ability did. 

" I could do better than that," Carrie ventured to her- 
self, in several instances. To do her justice, she was 
right. 

After it was over she dressed quickly, and as the 
manager had scolded some others and passed her, she 
imagined she must have proved satisfactory. She 
wanted to get out quickly, because she knew but few, 
and the stars were gossiping. Outside were carriages 
and some correct youths in attractive clothing, waiting. 
Carrie saw that she was scanned closely. The flutter 
of an eyelash would have brought her a companion. 
That she did not give. 

One experienced youth volunteered, anyhow. 

" Not going home alone, are you ? " he said. 

Carrie merely hastened her steps and took the Sixth 
Avenue car. Her head was so full of the wonder of it 
that she had time for nothing else. 

"Did you hear any more from the brewery?" she 
asked at the end of the week, hoping by the question 
to stir him on to action. 

" No," he answered, " they're not quite ready yet. I 
think something will come of that, though." 

She said nothing more then, objecting to giving up 
her own money, and yet feeling that such would have to 
be the case. Hurstwood felt the crisis, and artfully 
decided to appeal to Carrie. He had long since realised 
how good-natured she was, how much she would stand. 
There was some little shame in him at the thought of 
doing so, but he justified himself with the thought that 



SISTER CARRIE 



429 



he really would get something. Rent day gave him his 
opportunity. 

" Well," he said, as he counted it out, " that's about 
the last of my money. I'll have to get something pretty 
soon." 

Carrie looked at him askance, half-suspicious of an 
appeal. 

" If I could only hold out a little longer I think I 
could get something. Drake is sure to open a hotel 
here in September." 

"Is he?" said Carrie, thinking of the short month 
that still remained until that time. 

"Would you mind helping me out until then?" he 
said appealingly. " I think I'll be all right after that 
time." 

" No," said Carrie, feeling sadly handicapped by fate. 

" We can get along if we economise. I'll pay you 
back all right." 

" Oh, I'll help you," said Carrie, feeling quite hard- 
hearted at thus forcing him to humbly appeal, and yet 
her desire for the benefit of her earnings wrung a faint 
protest from her. 

" Why don't you take anything, George, tempo- 
rarily?" she said. "What difference does it make? 
Maybe, after a while, you'll get something better." 

" I will take anything," he said, relieved, and wincing 
under reproof. " I'd just as leave dig on the streets. 
Nobody knows me here." 

" Oh, you needn't do that," said Carrie, hurt by the 
pity of it. " But there must be other things." 

" I'll get something ! " he said, assuming deter- 
mination. 

Then he went back to his paper. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

OF LIGHTS AND OF SHADOWS : THE PARTING OF WORLDS 

What Hurstwood got as the result of this determina- 
tion was more self-assurance that each particular day 
was not the day. At the same time, Carrie passed 
through thirty days of mental distress. 

Her need of clothes — to say nothing of her desire for 
ornaments — grew rapidly as the fact developed that 
for all her work she was not to have them. The sym- 
pathy she felt for Hurstwood, at the time he asked her 
to tide him over, vanished with these newer urgings of 
decency. He was not always renewing his request, but 
this love of good appearance was. It insisted, and Car- 
rie wished to satisfy it, wished more and more that 
Hurstwood was not in the way. 

Hurstwood reasoned, when he neared the last ten 
dollars, that he had better keep a little pocket change 
and not become wholly dependent for car-fare, shaves, 
and the like ; so when this sum was still in his hand he 
announced himself as penniless. 

" I'm clear out," he said to Carrie one afternoon. " I 
paid for some coal this morning, and that took all but 
ten or fifteen cents." 

" I've got some money there in my purse." 

Hurstwood went to get it, starting for a can of toma- 
toes. Carrie scarcely noticed that this was the begin- 
ning of the new order. He took out fifteen cents and 
bought the can with it. Thereafter it was dribs and 
drabs of this sort, until one morning Carrie suddenly 



SISTER CARRIE 43 1 

remembered that she would not be back until close to 
dinner time. 

" We're all out of flour," she said ; " you'd better get 
some this afternoon. We haven't any meat, either. 
How would it do if we had liver and bacon? " 

" Suits me," said Hurstwood. 

" Better get a half or three-quarters of a pound of 
that." 

" Half '11 be enough," volunteered Hurstwood. 

She opened her purse and laid down a half dollar. 
He pretended not to notice it. 

Hurstwood bought the flour — which all grocers sold 
in 33/2 -pound packages — for thirteen cents and paid 
fifteen cents for a half-pound of liver and bacon. 
He left the packages, together with the balance of 
thirty-two cents, upon the kitchen table, where Carrie 
found it. It did not escape her that the change was 
accurate. There was something sad in realising that, 
after all, all that he wanted of her was something to 
eat. She felt as if hard thoughts were unjust. Maybe 
he would get something yet. He bad no vices. 

That very evening, however, on going into the 
theatre, one of the chorus girls passed her all newly 
arrayed in a pretty mottled tweed suit, which took Car- 
rie's eye. The young woman wore a fine bunch of 
violets and seemed in high spirits. She smiled at Car- 
rie good-naturedly as she passed, showing pretty, even 
teeth, and Carrie smiled back. 

" She can afford to dress well," thought Carrie, " and 
so could I, if I could only keep my money. I haven't a 
decent tie of any kind to wear." 

She put out her foot and looked at her shoe reflec- 
tively. 

" I'll get a pair of shoes Saturday, anyhow; I don't 
care what happens." 



432 



SISTER CARRIE 



One of the sweetest and most sympathetic little 
chorus girls in the company made friends with her be- 
cause in Carrie she found nothing to frighten her away. 
She was a gay little Manon, unwitting of society's fierce 
conception of morality, but, nevertheless, good to her 
neighbour and charitable. Little license was allowed 
the chorus in the matter of conversation, but, never- 
theless, some was indulged in. 

" It's warm to-night, isn't it? " said this girl, arrayed 
in pink fleshings and an imitation golden helmet. She 
also carried a shining shield. 

"Yes ; it is," said Carrie, pleased that some one should 
talk to her. 

" I'm almost roasting," said the girl. 

Carrie looked into her pretty face, with its large blue 
eyes, and saw little beads of moisture. 

" There's more marching in this opera than ever I 
did before," added the girl. 

" Have you been in others?" asked Carrie, surprised 
at her experience. 

" Lots of them," said the girl ; " haven't you? " 

" This is my first experience." 

" Oh, is it? I thought I saw you the time they ran 
' The Queen's Mate ' here." 

" No," said Carrie, shaking her head ; " not me." 

This conversation was interrupted by the blare of 
the orchestra and the sputtering of the calcium lights 
in the wings as the line was called to form for a new 
entrance. No further opportunity for conversation 
occurred, but the next evening, when they were getting 
ready for the stage, this girl appeared anew at her 
side. 

" They say this show is going on the road next 
month." 

" Is it ? " said Carrie. 



SISTER CARRIE 433 

"Yes; do you think you'll go?" 

" I don't know ; I guess so, if they'll take me." 

" Oh, they'll take you. I wouldn't go. They won't 
give you any more, and it will cost you everything you 
make to live. I never leave New York. There are too 
many shows going on here." 

" Can you always get in another show ? " 

" I always have. There's one going on up at the 
Broadway this month. I'm going to try and get in 
that if this one really goes." 

Carrie heard this with aroused intelligence. Evi- 
dently it wasn't so very difficult to get on. Maybe she 
also could get a place if this show went away. 

" Do they all pay about the same? " she asked. 

" Yes. Sometimes you get a little more. This show 
doesn't pay very much." 

" I get twelve," said Carrie. 

" Do you ? " said the girl. " They pay me fifteen, and 
you do more work than I do. I wouldn't stand it if I 
were you. They're just giving you less because they 
think you don't know. You ought to be making fif- 
teen." 

" Well, I'm not," said Carrie. 

" Well, you'll get more at the next place if you want 
it," went on the girl, who admired Carrie very much. 
" You do fine, and the manager knows it." 

To say the truth, Carrie did unconsciously move 
about with an air pleasing and somewhat distinctive. 
It was due wholly to her natural manner and total lack 
of self-consciousness. 

" Do you suppose I could get more up at the 
Broadway ? " 

" Of course you can," answered the girl. " You come 
with me when I go. I'll do the talking." 

Carrie heard this, flushing with thankfulness. She 
28 



434 SISTER CARRIE 

liked this little gaslight soldier. She seemed so ex- 
perienced and self-reliant in her tinsel helmet and 
military accoutrements. 

" My future must be assured if I can always get work 
this way," thought Carrie. 

Still, in the morning, when her household duties 
would infringe upon her and Hurstwood sat there, a 
perfect load to contemplate, her fate seemed dismal and 
unrelieved. It did not take so very much to feed them 
under Hurstwood's close-measured buying, and there 
would possibly be enough for rent, but it left nothing 
else. Carrie bought the shoes and some other things, 
which complicated the rent problem very seriously. 
Suddenly, a week from the fatal day, Carrie realised 
that they were going to run short. 

" I don't believe," she exclaimed, looking into her 
purse at breakfast, " that I'll have enough to pay the 
rent." 

"How much have you?" inquired Hurstwood. 

"Well, I've got twenty-two dollars, but there's every- 
thing to be paid for this week yet, and if I use all I get 
Saturday to pay this, there won't be any left for next 
week. Do you think your hotel man will open his hotel 
this month ? " 

" I think so," returned Hurstwood. " He said he 
would." 

After a while, Hurstwood said : 

" Don't worry about it. Maybe the grocer will wait. 
He can do that. We've traded there long enough to 
make him trust us for a week or two." 

" Do you think he will ? " she asked. 

" I think so." 

On this account, Hurstwood, this very day, looked 
grocer Oeslogge clearly in the eye as he ordered a 
pound of coffee, and said : 



SISTER CARRIE 435 

" Do you mind carrying my account until the end of 
every week ? " 

" No, no, Mr. Wheeler," said Mr. Oeslogge. " Dat 
iss all right." 

Hurstwood, still tactful in distress, added nothing to 
this. It seemed an easy thing. He looked out of the 
door, and then gathered up his coffee when ready and 
came away. The game of a desperate man had begun. 

Rent was paid, and now came the grocer. Hurst- 
wood managed by paying out of his own ten and col- 
lecting from Carrie at the end of the week. Then he 
delayed a day next time settling with the grocer, and 
so soon had his ten back, with Oeslogge getting his pay 
on this Thursday or Friday for last Saturday's bill. 

This entanglement made Carrie anxious for a change 
of some sort. Hurstwood did not seem to realise that 
she had a right to anything. He schemed to make what 
she earned cover all expenses, but seemed not to trouble 
over adding anything himself. 

" He talks about worrying," thought Carrie. " If 
he worried enough he couldn't sit there and wait for me. 
He'd get something to do. No man could go seven 
months without finding something if he tried." 

The sight of him always around in his untidy clothes 
and gloomy appearance drove Carrie to seek relief in 
other places. Twice a week there were matinees, and 
then Hurstwood ate a cold snack, which he prepared 
himself. Two other days there were rehearsals begin- 
ning at ten in the morning and lasting usually until one. 
Now, to this Carrie added a few visits to one or two 
chorus girls, including the blue-eyed soldier of the 
golden helmet. She did it because it was pleasant and 
a relief from dulness of the home over which her 
husband brooded. 

The blue-eyed soldier's name was Osborne — Lola 



436 SISTER CARRIE 

Osborne. Her room was in Nineteenth Street near 
Fourth Avenue, a block now given up wholly to office 
buildings. Here she had a comfortable back room, 
looking over a collection of back yards in which grew 
a number of shade trees pleasant to see. 

" Isn't your home in New York ? " she asked of Lola 
one day. 

" Yes ; but I can't get along with my people. They 
always want me to do what they want. Do you live 
here?" 

" Yes," said Carrie. 

"With your family?" 

Carrie was ashamed to say that she was married. 
She had talked so much about getting more salary and 
confessed to so much anxiety about her future, that 
now, when the direct question of fact was waiting, she 
could not tell this girl. 

" With some relatives," she answered. 

Miss Osborne took it for granted that, like herself, 
Carrie's time was her own. She invariably asked her 
to stay, proposing little outings and other things of that 
sort until Carrie began neglecting her dinner hours. 
Hurstwood noticed it, but felt in no position to quarrel 
with her. Several times she came so late as scarcely 
to have an hour in which to patch up a meal and start 
for the theatre. 

"Do you rehearse in the afternoons?" Hurstwood 
once asked, concealing almost completely the cynical 
protest and regret which prompted it. 

" No ; I was looking around for another place," said 
Carrie. 

As a matter of fact she was, but only in such a way 
as furnished the least straw of an excuse. Miss Os- 
borne and she had- gone to the office of the manager 
who was to produce the new opera at the Broadway 



SISTER CARRIE 437 

and returned straight to the former's room, where they 
had been since three o'clock. 

Carrie felt this question to be an infringement on her 
liberty. She did not take into account how much lib- 
erty she was securing. Only the latest step, the new- 
est freedom, must not be questioned. 

Hurstwood saw it all clearly enough. He was shrewd 
after his kind, and yet there was enough decency in the 
man to stop him from making any effectual protest. 
In his almost inexplicable apathy he was content to 
droop supinely while Carrie drifted out of his life, just 
as he was willing supinely to see opportunity pass be- 
yond his control. He could not help clinging and pro- 
testing in a mild, irritating, and ineffectual way, how- 
ever — a way that simply widened the breach by slow 
degrees. 

A further enlargement of this chasm between them 
came when the manager, looking between the wings 
upon the brightly lighted stage where the chorus was 
going through some of its glittering evolutions, said 
to the master of the ballet : 

" Who is that fourth girl there on the right — the one 
coming round at the end now?" 

" Oh," said the ballet-master, " that's Miss Ma- 
denda." 

" She's good looking. Why don't you let her head 
that line ? " 

" I will," said the man. 

" Just do that. She'll look better there than the 
woman you've got." 

" All right. I will do that," said the master. 

The next evening Carrie was called out, much as if 
for an error. 

" You lead your company to-night," said the master. 

" Yes, sir," said Carrie. 



438 SISTER CARRIE 

" Put snap into it," he added. " We must have snap." 

" Yes, sir," replied Carrie. 

Astonished at this change, she thought that the here- 
tofore leader must be ill ; but when she saw her in the 
line, with a distinct expression of something unfavour- 
able in her eye, she began to think that perhaps it was 
merit. 

She had a chic way of tossing her head to one side, and 
holding her arms as if for action — not listlessly. In front 
of the line this showed up even more effectually. 

" That girl knows how to carry herself," said the 
manager, another evening. He began to think that he 
should like to talk with her. If he hadn't made it a 
rule to have nothing to do with the members of the 
chorus, he would have approached her most unbend- 
ingly. 

" Put that girl at the head of the white column," he 
suggested to the man in charge of the ballet. 

This white column consisted of some twenty girls, 
all in snow-white flannel trimmed with silver and blue. 
Its leader was most stunningly arrayed in the same 
colours, elaborated, however, with epaulets and a belt 
of silver, with a short sword dangling at one side. Car- 
rie was fitted for this costume, and a few days later 
appeared, proud of her new laurels. She was especially 
gratified to find that her salary was now eighteen in- 
stead of twelve. 

Hurstwood heard nothing about this. 

" I'll not give him the rest of my money," said Carrie. 
" I do enough. I am going to get me something to 
wear." 

As a matter of fact, during this second month she 
had been buying for herself as recklessly as she dared, 
regardless of the consequences. There were impend- 
ing more complications rent day, and more extension 



SISTER CARRIE 



439 



of the credit system in the neighbourhood. Now, how- 
ever, she proposed to do better by herself. 

Her first move was to buy a shirt waist, and in study- 
ing these she found how little her money would buy 
— how much, if she could only use all. She forgot 
that if she were alone she would have to pay for a 
room and board, and imagined that every cent of her 
eighteen could be spent for clothes and things that she 
liked. 

At last she picked upon something, which not only 
used up all her surplus above twelve, but invaded that 
sum. She knew she was going too far, but her feminine 
love of finery prevailed. The next day Hurstwood 
said: 

" We owe the grocer five dollars and forty cents this 
week." 

" Do we ? " said Carrie, frowning a little. 

She looked in her purse to leave it. 

" I've only got eight dollars and twenty cents alto- 
gether." 

" We owe the milkman sixty cents," added Hurst- 
wood. 

" Yes, and there's the coal man," said Carrie. 

Hurstwood said nothing. He had seen the new 
things she was buying ; the way she was neglecting 
household duties ; the readiness with which she was 
slipping out afternoons and staying. He felt that some- 
thing was going to happen. All at once she spoke : 

" I don't know," she said ; " I can't do it all. I don't 
earn enough." 

This was a direct challenge. Hurstwood had to take 
it up. He tried to be calm. 

" I don't want you to do it all," he said. " I only 
want a little help until I can get something to do." 

" Oh, yes," answered Carrie. " That's always the 



440 SISTER CARRIE 

way. It takes more than I can earn to pay for things. 
I don't see what I'm going to do." 

" Well, I've tried to get something," he exclaimed. 
" What do you want me to do? " 

" You couldn't have tried so very hard," said Carrie. 
" I got something." 

" Well, I did," he said, angered almost to harsh 
words- " You needn't throw up your success to me. 
All I asked was a little help until I could get some- 
thing. I'm not down yet. I'll come up all right." 

He tried to speak steadily, but his voice trembled a 
little. 

Carrie's anger melted on the instant. She felt 
ashamed. 

" Well," she said, " here's the money," and emptied 
it out on the table. " I haven't got quite enough to pay 
it all. If they can wait until Saturday, though, I'll have 
some more." 

" You keep it," said Hurstwood, sadly. " I only want 
enough to pay the grocer." 

She put it back, and proceeded to get dinner early 
and in good time. Her little bravado made her feel as 
if she ought to make amends. 

In a little while their old thoughts returned to both. 

" She's making more than she says," thought Hurst- 
wood. " She says she's making twelve, but that wouldn't 
buy all those things. I don't care. Let her keep her 
money. I'll get something again one of these days. 
Then she can go to the deuce." 

He only said this in his anger, but it prefigured a pos- 
sible course of action and attitude well enough. 

" I don't care," thought Carrie. " He ought to be 
told to get out and do something. It isn't right that I 
should support him." 

In these days Carrie was introduced to several youths, 



SISTER CARRIE 44 1 

friends of Miss Osborne, who were of the kind most 
aptly described as gay and festive. They called once 
to get Miss Osborne for an afternoon drive. Carrie 
was with her at the time. 

" Come and go along," said Lola. 

" No, I can't," said Carrie. 

" Oh, yes, come and go. What have you got to 
do?" 

" I have to be home by five," said Carrie. 

" What for?" 

" Oh, dinner." 

" They'll take us to dinner," said Lola. 

" Oh, no," said Carrie. " I won't go. I can't." 

" Oh, do come. They're awful nice boys. We'll 
get you back in time. We're only going for a drive in 
Central Park." 

Carrie thought a while, and at last yielded. 

" Now, I must be back by half-past four," she said. 

The information went in one ear of Lola and out the 
other. 

After Drouet and Hurstwood, there was the least 
touch of cynicism in her attitude toward young men — 
especially of the gay and frivolous sort. She felt a little 
older than they. Some of their pretty compliments 
seemed silly. Still, she was young in heart and body 
and youth appealed to her. 

" Oh, we'll be right back, Miss Madenda," said one 
of the chaps, bowing. " You wouldn't think we'd keep 
you over time, now, would you? " 

" Well, I don't know," said Carrie, smiling. 

They were off for a drive — she, looking about and 
noticing fine clothing, the young men voicing those 
silly pleasantries and weak quips which pass for hu- 
mour in coy circles. Carrie saw the great park parade 
of carriages, beginning at the Fifty-ninth Street en- 



442 SISTER CARRIE 

trance and winding past the Museum of Art to the exit 
at One Hundred and Tenth Street and Seventh Avenue. 
Her eye was once more taken by the show of wealth 
— the elaborate costumes, elegant harnesses, spirited 
horses, and, above all, the beauty. Once more the 
plague of poverty galled her, but now she forgot in a 
measure her own troubles so far as to forget Hurst- 
wood. He waited until four, five, and even six. It was 
getting dark when he got up out of his chair. 

" I guess she isn't coming home," he said, grimly. 

" That's the way," he thought. " She's getting a 
start now. I'm out of it." 

Carrie had really discovered her neglect, but only at 
a quarter after five, and the open carriage was now far 
up Seventh Avenue, near the Harlem River. 

" What time is it? " she inquired. " I must be get- 
ting back." 

" A quarter after five," said her companion, consult- 
ing an elegant, open-faced watch. 

" Oh, dear me ! " exclaimed Carrie. Then she settled 
back with a sigh. " There's no use crying over spilt 
milk," she said. " It's too late." 

" Of course it is," said the youth, who saw visions of 
a fine dinner now, and such invigorating talk as would 
result in a reunion after the show. He was greatly 
taken with Carrie. " We'll drive down to Delmonico's 
now and have something there, won't we, Orrin? " 

" To be sure," replied Orrin, gaily. 

Carrie thought of Hurstwood. Never before had she 
neglected dinner without an excuse. 

They drove back, and at 6.15 sat down to dine. It 
was the Sherry incident over again, the remembrance of 
which came painfully back to Carrie. She remembered 
Mrs. Vance, who had never called again after Hurst- 
wood's reception, and Ames. 



SISTER CARRIE 443 

At this figure her mind halted. It was a strong, 
clean vision. He liked better books than she read, bet- 
ter people than she associated with. His ideals burned 
in her heart. 

" It's fine to be a good actress," came distinctly back. 

What sort of an actress was she ? 

" What are you thinking about, Miss Madenda? " in- 
quired her merry companion. " Come, now, let's see 
if I can guess." 

" Oh, no," said Carrie. " Don't try." 

She shook it off and ate. She forgot, in part, and was 
merry. When it came to the after-theatre proposition, 
however, she shook her head. 

" No," she said, " I can't. I have a previous en- 
gagement." 

" Oh, now, Miss Madenda," pleaded the youth. 

" No," said Carrie, " I can't. You've been so kind, 
but you'll have to excuse me." 

The youth looked exceedingly crestfallen. 

" Cheer up, old man," whispered his companion. 
" We'll go around, anyhow. She may change her 
mind." 



CHAPTER XL 

A PUBLIC DISSENSION I A FINAL APPEAL 

There was no after-theatre lark, however, so far as 
Carrie was concerned. She made her way homeward, 
thinking about her absence. Hurstwood was asleep, 
but roused up to look as she passed through to her own 
bed. 

" Is that you ? " he said. 

" Yes," she answered. 

The next morning at breakfast she felt like apologising. 

" I couldn't get home last evening," she said. 

" Ah, Carrie," he answered, " what's the use saying 
that? I don't care. You needn't tell me that, though." 

" I couldn't," said Carrie, her colour rising. Then, 
seeing that he looked as if he said " I know," she ex- 
claimed : " Oh, all right. I don't care." 

From now on, her indifference to the flat was even 
greater. There seemed no common ground on which 
they could talk to one another. She let herself be asked 
for expenses. It became so with him that he hated to 
do it. He preferred standing off the butcher and baker. 
He ran up a grocery bill of sixteen dollars with Oes- 
l°gg" e > laying in a supply of staple articles, so that they 
would not have to buy any of those things for some 
time to come. Then he changed his grocery. It was 
the same with the butcher and several others. Carrie 
never heard anything of this directly from him. He 
asked for such as he could expect, drifting farther and 



SISTER CARRIE 445 

farther into a situation which could have but one 
ending. 

In this fashion, September went by. 

" Isn't Mr. Drake going to open his hotel ? " Carrie 
asked several times. 

" Yes. He won't do it before October, though, now." 

Carrie became disgusted. " Such a man," she said 
to herself frequently. More and more she visited. She 
put most of her spare money in clothes, which, after all, 
was not an astonishing amount. At last the opera she 
was with announced its departure within four weeks. 
" Last two weeks of the Great Comic Opera success — 

The ," etc., was upon all billboards and in the 

newspapers, before she acted. 

" I'm not going out on the road," said Miss Osborne. 

Carrie went with her to apply to another manager. 

"Ever had any experience?" was one of his ques- 
tions. 

" I'm with the company at the Casino now." 

" Oh, you are? " he said. 

The end of this was another engagement at twenty 
per week. 

Carrie was delighted. She began to feel that she 
had a place in the world. People recognised ability. 

So changed was her state that the home atmosphere 
became intolerable. It was all poverty and trouble 
there, or seemed to be, because it was a load to bear. 
It became a place to keep away from. Still she slept 
there, and did a fair amount of work, keeping it in order. 
It was a sitting place for Hurstwood. He sat and 
rocked, rocked and read, enveloped in the gloom of his 
own fate. October went by, and November. It was 
the dead of winter almost before he knew it, and there 
he sat. 

Carrie was doing better, that he knew. Her clothes 



446 SISTER CARRIE 

were improved now, even fine. He saw her coming 
and going, sometimes picturing to himself her rise. 
Little eating had thinned him somewhat. He had no 
appetite. His clothes, too, were a poor man's clothes. 
Talk about getting something had become even too 
threadbare and ridiculous for him. So he folded his 
hands and waited — for what, he could not anticipate. 

At last, however, troubles became too thick. The 
hounding of creditors, the indifference of Carrie, the 
silence of the flat, and presence of winter, all joined to 
produce a climax. It was effected by the arrival of 
Oeslogge, personally, when Carrie was there. 

" I call about my bill," said Mr. Oeslogge. 

Carrie was only faintly surprised. 

" How much is it? " she asked. 

" Sixteen dollars," he replied. 

"Oh, that much?" said Carrie. "Is this right?" 
she asked, turning to Hurstwood. 

" Yes," he said. 

" Well, I never heard anything about it." 

She looked as if she thought he had been contracting 
some needless expense. 

" Well, we had it all right," he answered. Then he 
went to the door. " I can't pay you anything on that 
to-day," he said, mildly. 

" Well, when can you ? " said the grocer. 

" Not before Saturday, anyhow," said Hurstwood. 

" Huh ! " returned the grocer. " This is fine. I must 
have that. I need the money." 

Carrie was standing farther back in the room, hearing 
it all. She was greatly distressed. It was so bad and 
commonplace. Hurstwood was annoyed also. 

" Well," he said, " there's no use talking about it now. 
If you'll come in Saturday, I'll pay you something on 
it." 



SISTER CARRIE 447 

The grocery man went away. 

" How are we going to pay it ? " asked Carrie, aston- 
ished by the bill. " I can't do it." 

" Well, you don't have to," he said. " He can't get 
what he can't get. He'll have to wait." 

" I don't see how we ran up such a bill as that," said 
Carrie. 

" Well, we ate it," said Hurstwood. 

" It's funny," she replied, still doubting. 

" What's the use of your standing there and talking 
like that, now? " he asked. " Do you think I've had it 
alone ? You talk as if I'd taken something." 

" Well, it's too much, anyhow," said Carrie. " I 
oughtn't to be made to pay for it. I've got more than 
I can pay for now." 

" All right," replied Hurstwood, sitting down in si- 
lence. He was sick of the grind of this thing. 

Carrie went out, and there he sat, determining to do 
something. 

There had been appearing in the papers about this 
time rumours and notices of an approaching strike on 
the trolley lines in Brooklyn. There was general dis- 
satisfaction as to the hours of labour required and the 
wages paid. As usual — and for some inexplicable rea- 
son — the men chose the winter for the forcing of the 
hand of their employers and the settlement of their 
difficulties. 

Hurstwood had been reading of this thing, and won- 
dering concerning the huge tie-up which would follow. 
A day or two before this trouble with Carrie, it came. 
On a cold afternoon, when everything was grey and it 
threatened to snow, the papers announced that the men 
had been called out on all the lines. 

Being so utterly idle, and his mind filled with the 
numerous predictions which had been made concern- 



448 SISTER CARRIE 

ing the scarcity of labour this winter and the panicky- 
state of the financial market, Hurstwood read this with 
interest. He noted the claims of the striking motor- 
men and conductors, who said that they had been wont 
to receive two dollars a day in times past, but that for a 
year or more " trippers " had been introduced, which 
cut down their chance of livelihood one-half, and in- 
creased their hours of servitude from ten to twelve, 
and even fourteen. These " trippers " were men put 
on during the busy and rush hours, to take a car out 
for one trip. The compensation paid for such a trip 
was only twenty-five cents. When the rush or busy 
hours were over, they were laid off. Worst of all, no 
man might know when he was going to get a car. He 
must come to the barns in the morning and wait around 
in fair and foul weather until such time as he was 
needed. Two trips were an average reward for so 
much waiting — a little over three hours' work for fifty 
cents. The work of waiting was not counted. 

The men complained that this system was extending, 
and that the time was not far off when but a few out of 
7,000 employees would have regular two-dollar-a-day 
work at all. They demanded that the system be abol- 
ished, and that ten hours be considered a day's work, 
barring unavoidable delays, with $2.25 pay. They de- 
manded immediate acceptance of these terms, which 
the various trolley companies refused. 

Hurstwood at first sympathised with the demands of 
these men — indeed, it is a question whether he did not 
always sympathise with them to the end, belie him as 
his actions might. Reading nearly all the news, he 
was attracted first by the scare-heads with which the 
trouble was noted in the " World." He read it fully — 
the names of the seven companies involved, the number 
of men. 



SISTER CARRIE 449 

" They're foolish to strike in this sort of weather," he 
thought to himself. " Let 'em win if they can, though." 

The next day there was even a larger notice of it. 
" Brooklynites Walk," said the '•' World." " Knights 
of Labour Tie up the Trolley Lines Across the 
Bridge." " About Seven Thousand Men Out." 

Hurstwood read this, formulating to himself his own 
idea of what would be the outcome. He was a great 
believer in the strength of corporations. 

" They can't win," he said, concerning the men. 
" They haven't any money. The police will protect the 
companies. They've got to. The public has to have 
its cars." 

He didn't sympathise with the corporations, but 
strength was with them. So was property and public 
utility. 

" Those fellows can't win," he thought. 

Among other things, he noticed a circular issued by 
one of the companies, which read : 

"Atlantic Avenue Railroad. 
"SPECIAL NOTICE. 

"The motormen and conductors and other employees of this 
company having abruptly left its service, an opportunity is now 
given to all loyal men who have struck against their will to be 
reinstated, providing they will make their applications by twelve 
o'clock noon on Wednesday, January 16th. Such men will be 
given employment (with guaranteed protection) in the order in 
which such applications are received, and runs and positions 
assigned them accordingly. Otherwise, they will be considered 
discharged, and every vacancy will be filled by a new man as 
soon as his services can be secured. 
" (Signed) 
" Benjamin Norton, 

"President." 
29 



450 SISTER CARRIE 

He also noted among the want ads. one which read : 

"WANTED. — 50 skilled motormen, accustomed to Westing- 
house system, to run U. S. mail cars only, in the City of Brook- 
lyn ; protection guaranteed." 

He noted particularly in each the " protection guar- 
anteed." It signified to him the unassailable power of 
the companies. 

" They've got the militia on their side," he thought. 
" There isn't anything those men can do." 

While this was still in his mind, the incident with 
Oeslogge and Carrie occurred. There had been a good 
deal to irritate him, but this seemed much the worst. 
Never before had she accused him of stealing — or very 
near that. She doubted the naturalness of so large a 
bill. And he had worked so hard to make expenses 
seem light. He had been " doing " butcher and baker 
in order not to call on her. He had eaten very little — 
almost nothing. 

" Damn it all ! " he said. " I can get something. I'm 
not down yet." 

He thought that he really must do something now. 
It was too cheap to sit around after such an insinuation 
as this. Why, after a little, he would be standing any- 
thing. 

He got up and looked out the window into the chilly 
street. It came gradually into his mind, as he stood 
there, to go to Brooklyn. 

" Why not ? " his mind said. " Any one can get work 
over there. You'll get two a day." 

" How about accidents ? " said a voice. " You might 
get hurt." 

" Oh, there won't be much of that," he answered. 
" They've called out the police. Any one who wants 
to run a car will be protected all right." 



SISTER CARRIE 451 

" You don't know how to run a car," rejoined the 
voice. 

" I won't apply as a motorman," he answered. " I 
can ring up fares all right." 

" They'll want motormen mostly." 

" They'll take anybody ; that I know." 

For several hours he argued pro and con with this 
mental counsellor, feeling no need to act at once in a 
matter so sure of profit. 

In the morning he put on his best clothes, which were 
poor enough, and began stirring about, putting some 
bread and meat into a page of a newspaper. Carrie 
watched him, interested in this new move. 

" Where are you going? " she asked. 

" Over to Brooklyn," he answered. Then, seeing her 
still inquisitive, he added : " I think I can get on over 
there." 

" On the trolley lines? " said Carrie, astonished. 

" Yes," he rejoined. 

"Aren't you afraid?" she asked. 

" What of? " he answered. " The police are protect- 
ing them." 

" The paper said four men were hurt yesterday." 

" Yes," he returned ; " but you can't go by what the 
papers say. They'll run the cars all right." 

He looked rather determined now, in a desolate sort 
of way, and Carrie felt very sorry. Something of the 
old Hurstwood was here — the least shadow of whatwas 
once shrewd and pleasant strength. Outside, it was 
cloudy and blowing a few flakes of snow. 

" What a day to go over there," thought Carrie. 

Now he left before she did, which was a remarkable 
thing, and tramped eastward to Fourteenth Street and 
Sixth Avenue, where he took the car. He had read 
that scores of applicants were applying at the office of 



452 SISTER CARRIE 

the Brooklyn City Railroad building and were being 
received. He made his way there by horse-car and 
ferry — a dark, silent man — to the offices in question. 
It was a long way, for no cars were running, and the 
day was cold; but he trudged along grimly. Once in 
Brooklyn, he could clearly see and feel that a strike 
was On. People showed it in their manner. Along 
the routes of certain tracks not a car was running. 
About certain corners and nearby saloons small groups 
of men were lounging. Several spring wagons passed 
him, equipped with plain wooden chairs, and labelled 
" Flatbush " or " Prospect Park. Fare, Ten Cents." 
He noticed cold and even gloomy faces. Labour was 
having its little war. 

When he came hear the office in question, he saw a 
few men standing about, and some policemen. On the 
far corners were other men — whom he took to be strik- 
ers — watching. All the houses were small and wooden, 
the streets poorly paved. After New York, Brooklyn 
looked actually poor and hard-up. 

He made his way into the heart of the small group, 
eyed by policemen and the men already there. One of 
the officers addressed him. 

" What are you looking for? " 

" I want to see if I can get a place." 

" The offices are up those steps," said the bluecoat. 
His face was a very neutral thing to contemplate. In. 
his heart of hearts, he sympathised with the strikers 
and hated this " scab." In his heart of hearts, also, he 
felt the dignity and use of the police force, which com- 
manded order. Of its true social significance, he 
never once dreamed. His was not the mind for that. 
The two feelings blended in him — neutralised one an- 
other and him. He would have fought for this man 
as determinedly as for himself, and yet only so far as 



SISTER CARRIE 453 

commanded. Strip him of his uniform, and he would 
have soon picked his side. 

Hurstwood ascended a dusty flight of steps and en- 
tered a small, dust-coloured office, in which were a rail- 
ing, a long desk, and several clerks. 

" Well, sir ? " said a middle-aged man, looking up at 
him from the long desk. 

"Do you want to hire any men?" inquired Hurst- 
wood. 

" What are you — a motorman ? " 

" No ; I'm not anything," said Hurstwood. 

He was not at all abashed by his position. He knew 
these people needed men. If one didn't take him, an- 
other would. This man could take him or leave him, 
just as he chose. 

" Well, we prefer experienced men, of course," said 
the man. He paused, while Hurstwood smiled indif- 
ferently. Then he added : " Still, I guess you can learn. 
What is your name? " 

" Wheeler," said Hurstwood. 

The man wrote an order on a small card. " Take that 
to our barns," he said, " and give it to the foreman. 
He'll show you what to do." 

Hurstwood went down and out. He walked straight 
away in the direction indicated, while the policemen 
looked after. 

" There's another wants to try it," said Officer Kiely 
to Officer Macey. 

" I have my mind he'll get his fill," returned the lat- 
ter, quietly. 

They had been in strikes before. 



CHAPTER XLI 



THE STRIKE 



The barn at which Hurstwood applied was exceed- 
ingly short-handed, and was being operated practically 
by three men as directors. There were a lot of green 
hands around — queer, hungry-looking men, who looked 
as if want had driven them to desperate means. They 
tried to be lively and willing, but there was an air of 
hang-dog diffidence about the place. 

Hurstwood went back through the barns and out 
into a large, enclosed lot, where were a series of tracks 
and loops. A half-dozen cars were there, manned by 
instructors, each with a pupil at the lever. More pupils 
were waiting at one of the rear doors of the barn. 

In silence Hurstwood viewed this scene, and waited. 
His companions took his eye for a while, though they 
did not interest him much more than the cars. They 
were an uncomfortable-looking gang, however. One 
or two were very thin and lean. Several were quite 
stout. Several others were rawboned and sallow, as 
if they had been beaten upon by all sorts of rough 
weather. 

" Did you see by the paper they are going to call out 
the militia? " Hurstwood heard one of them remark. 

" Oh, they'll do that," returned the other. " They al- 
ways do." 

"Think we're liable to have much trouble?" said 
another, whom Hurstwood did not see. 



SISTER CARRIE 455 

" Not very." 

" That Scotchman that went out on the last car," put 
in a voice, " told me that they hit him in the ear with 
a cinder." 

A small, nervous laugh accompanied this. 

" One of those fellows on the Fifth Avenue line must 
have had a hell of a time, according to the papers," 
drawled another. " They broke his car windows and 
pulled him off into the street 'fore the police could stop 
'em." 

" Yes ; but there are more police around to-day," was 
added by another. 

Hurstwood hearkened without much mental com- 
ment. These talkers seemed scared to him. Their 
gabbling was feverish — things said to quiet their own 
minds. He looked out into the yard and waited. 

Two of the men got around quite near him, but be- 
hind his back. They were rather social, and he listened 
to what they said. 

" Are you a railroad man? " said one. 

"Me? No. I've always worked in a paper factory." 

" I had a job in Newark until last October," returned 
the other, with reciprocal feeling. 

There were some words which passed too low to 
hear. Then the conversation became strong again. 

" I don't blame these fellers for striking," said one. 
" They've got the right of it, all right, but I had to get 
something to do." 

" Same here," said the other. " If I had any job in 
Newark I wouldn't be over here takin' chances like 
these." 

" It's hell these days, ain't it?" said the man. "A 
poor man ain't nowhere. You could starve, by God, 
right in the streets, and there ain't most no one would 
help you." 



456 SISTER CARRIE 

" Right you are," said the other. " The job I had 
I lost 'cause they shut down. They run ail summer 
and lay up a big stock, and then shut down." 

Hurstwood paid some little attention to this. Some- 
how, he felt a little superior to these two — a little bet- 
ter off. To him these were ignorant and commonplace, 
poor sheep in a driver's hand. 

" Poor devils," he thought, speaking out of the 
thoughts and feelings of a bygone period of success. 

" Next," said one of the instructors. 

" You're next," said a neighbour, touching him. 

He went out and climbed on the platform. The in- 
structor took it for granted that no preliminaries were 
needed. 

" You see this handle," he said, reaching up to an 
electric cut-off, which was fastened to the roof. " This 
throws the current off or on. If you want to reverse 
the car you turn it over here. If you want to send it 
forward, you put it over here. If you want to cut off 
the power, you keep it in the middle." 

Hurstwood smiled at the simple information. 

" Now, this handle here regulates your speed. To 
here," he said, pointing with his finger, "gives you about 
four miles an hour. This is eight. When it's full on, 
you make about fourteen 'miles an hour." 

Hurstwood watched him calmly. He had seen 
motormen work before. He knew just about how they 
did it, and was sure he could do as well, with a very 
little practice. 

The instructor explained a few more details, and then 
said : 

" Now, we'll back her up." 

Hurstwood stood placidly by, while the car rolled 
back into the yard. 

" One thing you want to be careful about, and that is 



SISTER CARRIE 457 

to start easy. Give one degree time to act before you 
start another. The one fault of most men is that they 
always want to throw her wide open. That's bad. It's 
dangerous, too. Wears out the motor. You don't 
want to do that." 

" I see," said Hurstwood. 

He waited and waited, while the man talked on. 

" Now you take it," he said, finally. 

The ex-manager laid hand to the lever and pushed 
it gently, as he thought. It worked much easier than 
he imagined, however, with the result that the car 
jerked quickly forward, throwing him back against the 
door. He straightened up sheepishly, while the instruc- 
tor stopped the car with the brake. 

" You want to be careful about that," was all he 
said. 

Hurstwood found, however, that handling a .brake 
and regulating speed were not so instantly mastered 
as he had imagined. Once or twice he would have 
ploughed through the rear fence if it had not been for 
the hand and word of his companion. The latter was 
rather patient with him, but he never smiled. 

" You've got to get the knack of working both arms 
at once," he said. " It takes a little practice." 

One o'clock came while he was still on the car prac- 
tising, and he began to feel hungry. The day set in 
snowing, and he was cold. He grew weary of running 
to and fro on the short track. 

They ran the car to the end and both got off. Hurst- 
wood went into the barn and sought a car step, pulling 
out his paper-wrapped lunch from his pocket. There 
was no water and the bread was dry, but he enjoyed it. 
There was no ceremony about dining. He swallowed 
and looked about, contemplating the dull, homely 
labour of the thing. It was disagreeable — miserably 



458 SISTER CARRIE 

disagreeable — in all its phases. Not because it was 
bitter, but because it was hard. It would be hard to 
any one, he thought. 

After eating, he stood about as before, waiting until 
his turn came. 

The intention was to give him an afternoon of prac- 
tice, but the greater part of the time was spent in wait- 
ing about. 

At last evening came, and with it hunger and a debate 
with himself as to how he should spend the night. It 
was half-past five. He must soon eat. If he tried to 
go home, it would take him two hours and a half of cold 
walking and riding. Besides, he had orders to report 
at seven the next morning, and going home would ne- 
cessitate his rising at an unholy and disagreeable hour. 
He had only something like a dollar and fifteen cents 
of Carrie's money, with which he had intended to pay 
the two weeks' coal bill before the present idea struck 
him. 

" They must have some place around here," he 
thought. " Where does that fellow from Newark 
stay?" 

Finally he decided to ask. There was a young fel- 
low standing near one of the doors in the cold, waiting 
a last turn. He was a mere boy in years — twenty-one 
about— but with a body lank and long, because of priva- 
tion. A little good living would have made this youth 
plump and swaggering. 

" How do they arrange this, if a man hasn't any 
money?" inquired Hurstwood, discreetly. 

The fellow turned a keen, watchful face on the in- 
quirer. 

" You mean eat? " he replied. 

" Yes, and sleep. I can't go back to New York to- 
night," 



SISTER CARRIE 459 

" The foreman '11 fix that if you ask him, I guess. He 
did me." 

"That so?" 

" Yes. I just told him I didn't have anything. Gee, 
I couldn't go home. I live way over in Hoboken." 

Hurstwood only cleared his throat by way of ac- 
knowledgment. 

" They've got a place upstairs here, I understand. I 
don't know what sort of a thing it is. Purty tough, I 
guess. He gave me a meal ticket this noon. I know 
that wasn't much." 

Hurstwood smiled grimly, and the boy laughed. 

" It ain't no fun, is it? " he inquired, wishing vainly 
for a cheery reply. 

" Not much," answered Hurstwood. 

" I'd tackle him now," volunteered the youth. " He 
may go 'way." 

Hurstwood did so. 

" Isn't there some place I can stay around here to- 
night?" he inquired. "If I have to go back to New 
York, I'm afraid I won't " 

" There're some cots upstairs," interrupted the man, 
" if you want one of them." 

" That'll do," he assented. 

He meant to ask for a meal ticket, but the seemingly 
proper moment never came, and he decided to pay 
himself that night. 

" I'll ask him in the morning." 

He ate in a cheap restaurant in the vicinity, and, 
being cold and lonely, went straight off to seek the loft 
in question. The company was not attempting to run 
cars after nightfall. It was so advised by the police. 

The room seemed to have been a lounging place for 
night workers. There were some nine cots in the place, 
two or three wooden chairs, a soap box, and a small, 



460 SISTER CARRIE 

round-bellied stove, in which a fire was blazing. Early 
as he was, another man was there before him. The 
latter was sitting beside the stove warming his hands. 

Hurstwood approached and held out his own toward 
the fire. He was sick of the bareness and privation of 
all things connected with his venture, but was steeling 
himself to hold out. He fancied he could for a while. 

" Cold, isn't it? " said the early guest. 

"Rather." 

A long silence. 

"Not much of a place to sleep in, is it?" said the 
man. 

" Better than nothing," replied Hurstwood. 

Another silence. 

" I believe I'll turn in," said the man. 

Rising, he went to one of the cots and stretched him- 
self, removing only his shoes, and pulling the one blan- 
ket and dirty old comforter over him in a sort of bundle. 
The sight disgusted Hurstwood, but he did not dwell 
on it, choosing to gaze into the stove and think of some- 
thing else. Presently he decided to retire, and picked 
a cot, also removing his shoes. 

While he was doing so, the youth who had advised 
him to come here entered, and, seeing Hurstwood, tried 
to be genial. 

" Better'n nothin'," he observed, looking around. 

Hurstwood did not take this to himself. He thought 
it to be an expression of individual satisfaction, and so 
did not answer. The youth imagined he was out of 
sorts, and set to whistling softly. Seeing another man 
asleep, he quit that and lapsed into silence. 

Hurstwood made the best of a bad lot by keeping on 
his clothes and pushing away the dirty covering from 
his head, but at last he dozed in sheer weariness. The 
covering became more and more comfortable, its char- 



SISTER CARRIE 461 

acter was forgotten, and he pulled it about his neck and 
slept. 

In the morning he was aroused out of a pleasant 
dream by several men stirring about in the cold, cheerless 
room. He had been back in Chicago in fancy, in his 
own comfortable home. Jessica had been arranging 
to go somewhere, and he had been talking with her 
about it. This was so clear in his mind, that he was 
startled now by the contrast of this room. He raised 
his head, and the cold, bitter reality jarred him into 
wakefulness. 

" Guess I'd better get up," he said. 

There was no water on this floor. He put on his shoes 
in the cold and stood up, shaking himself in his stiffness. 
His clothes felt disagreeable, his hair bad. 

" Hell ! " he muttered, as he put on his hat. 

Downstairs things were stirring again. 

He found a hydrant, with a trough which had once 
been used for horses, but there was no towel here* and 
his handkerchief was soiled from yesterday. He con- 
tented himself with wetting his eyes with the ice-cold 
water. Then he sought the foreman, who was already 
on the ground. 

" Had your breakfast yet? " inquired that worthy. 

" No," said Hurstwood. 

" Better get it, then j your car won't be ready for a 
little while." 

Hurstwood hesitated. 

"Could you let me have a meal ticket?" he asked, 
with an effort. 

" Here you are," said the man, handing him one. 

He breakfasted as poorly as the night before on some 
fried steak and bad coffee. Then he went back. 

" Here," said the foreman, motioning him, when he 
came in. " You take this car out in a few minutes." 



462 SISTER CARRIE 

Hurstwood climbed up on the platform in the gloomy- 
barn and waited for a signal. He was nervous, and yet 
the thing was a relief. Anything was better than the 
barn. 

On this the fourth day of the strike, the situation had 
taken a turn for the worse. The strikers,. following the 
counsel of their leaders and the newspapers, had strug- 
gled peaceably enough. There had been no great 
violence done. Cars had been stopped, it is true, and 
the men argued with. Some crews had been won over 
and led away, some windows broken, some jeering and 
yelling done ; but in no more than five or six instances 
had men been seriously injured. These by crowds 
whose acts the leaders disclaimed. 

Idleness, however, and the sight of the company, 
backed by the police, triumphing, angered the men. 
They saw that each day more cars were going on, each 
day more declarations were being made by the com- 
pany officials that the effective opposition of the strikers 
was broken. This put desperate thoughts in the minds 
of the men. Peaceful methods meant, they saw, that 
the companies would soon run all their cars and those 
who had complained would be forgotten. There was 
nothing so helpful to the companies as peaceful 
methods. 

All at once they blazed forth, and for a week there 
was storm and stress. Cars were assailed, men at- 
tacked, policemen struggled with, tracks torn up, and 
shots fired, until at last street fights and mob move- 
ments became frequent, and the city was invested with 
militia. 

Hurstwood knew nothing of the change of temper. 

" Run your car out," called the foreman, waving a 
vigorous hand at him. A green conductor jumped up 
behind and rang the bell twice as a signal to start. 



SISTER CARRIE 463 

Hurstwood turned the lever and ran the car out 
through the door into the street in front of the barn. 
Here two brawny policemen got up beside him on the 
platform — one on either hand. 

At the sound of a gong near the barn door, two bells 
were given by the conductor and Hurstwood opened 
his lever. 

The two policemen looked about them calmly. 

" 'Tis cold, all right, this morning," said the one on 
the left, who possessed a rich brogue. 

" I had enough of it yesterday," said the other. " I 
wouldn't want a steady job of this." 

"Nor I." 

Neither paid the slightest attention to Hurstwood, 
who stood facing the cold wind, which was chilling 
him completely, and thinking of his orders. 

" Keep a steady gait," the foreman had said. " Don't 
stop for any one who doesn't look like a real passenger. 
Whatever you do, don't stop for a crowd." 

The two officers kept silent for a few moments. 

" The last man must have gone through all right/' 
said the officer on the left. " I don't see his car any- 
where." 

"Who's on there?" asked the second officer, refer- 
ring, of course, to its complement of policemen. 

" Schaeffer and Ryan." 

There was another silence, in which the car ran 
smoothly along. There were not so many houses along 
this part of the way. Hurstwood did not see many 
people either. The situation was not wholly disagree- 
able to him. If he were not so cold, he thought he 
would do well enough. 

He was brought out of this feeling by the sudden 
appearance of a curve ahead, which he had not expected. 
He shut off the current and did an energetic turn at the 



464 SISTER CARRIE 

brake, but not in time to avoid an unnaturally quick 
turn. It shook him up and made him feel like making 
some apologetic remarks, but he refrained. 

" You want to look out for them things," said the 
officer on the left, condescendingly. 

" That's right," agreed Hurstwood, shamefacedly. 

" There's lots of them on this line," said the officer 
on the right. 

Around the corner a more populated way appeared. 
One or two pedestrians were in view ahead. A boy 
coming out of a gate with a tin milk bucket gave Hurst- 
wood his first objectionable greeting. 

" Scab ! " he yelled. " Scab ! " 

Hurstwood heard it, but tried to make no comment, 
even to himself. He knew he would get that, and much 
more of the same sort, probably. 

At a corner farther up a man stood by the track and 
signalled the car to stop. 

" Never mind him," said one of the officers. " He's 
up to some game." 

Hurstwood obeyed. At the corner he saw the wis- 
dom of it. No sooner did the man perceive the inten- 
tion to ignore him, than he shook his fist. 

" Ah, you bloody coward ! " he yelled. 

Some half dozen men, standing on the corner, flung 
taunts and jeers after the speeding car. 

Hurstwood winced the least bit.' The real thing 
was slightly worse than the thoughts of it had been. 

Now came in sight, three or four blocks farther on, 
a heap of something on the track. 

" They've been at work, here, all right," said one of 
the policemen. 

" We'll have an argument, maybe," said the other. 

Hurstwood ran the car close and stopped. He had 
not done so wholly, however, before a crowd gathered 



SISTER CARRIE 465 

about. It was composed of ex-motormen and con- 
ductors in part, with a sprinkling of friends and sym- 
pathisers. 

" Come off the car, pardner," said one of the men in 
a voice meant to be conciliatory. V. You don't want to 
take the bread out of another man's mouth, do you? " 

Hurstwood held to his brake and lever, pale and very 
uncertain what to do. 

" Stand back," yelled one of the officers, leaning over 
the platform railing. " Clear out of this, now. Give 
the man a chance to do his work." 

'* Listen, pardner," said the leader, ignoring the 
policeman and addressing Hurstwood. " We're all 
working men, like yourself. If you were a regular 
motorman, and had been treated as we've been, you 
wouldn't want any one to come in and take your place, 
would you? You wouldn't want any one to do you 
out of your chance to get your rights, would you ? " 

" Shut her off ! shut her off ! " urged the other of the 
policemen, roughly. " Get out of this, now," and he 
jumped the railing and landed before the crowd and 
began shoving. Instantly the other officer was down 
beside him. 

" Stand back, now," they yelled. " Get out of this. 
What the hell do you mean ? Out, now." 

It was like a small swarm of bees. 

" Don't shove me," said one of the strikers, deter- 
minedly. " I'm not doing anything." 

" Get out of this ! " cried the officer, swinging his 
club. " I'll give ye a bat on the sconce. Back, now." 

" What the hell ! " cried another of the strikers, push- 
ing the other way, adding at the same time some lusty 
oaths. 

Crack came an officer's club on his forehead. He 
blinked his eyes blindly a few times, wabbled on his 
30 



466 SISTER CARRIE 

legs, threw up his hands, and staggered back. In re- 
turn, a swift fist landed on the officer's neck. 

Infuriated by this, the latter plunged left and right, 
laying about madly with his club. He was ably as- 
sisted by his brother of the blue, who poured ponderous 
oaths upon the troubled waters. No severe damage 
was done, owing to the agility of the strikers in keep- 
ing out of reach. They stood about the sidewalk now 
and jeered. 

" Where is the conductor? " yelled one of the officers, 
getting his eye on that individual, who had come ner- 
vously forward to stand by Hurstwood. The latter 
had stood gazing upon the scene with more astonish- 
ment than fear. 

" Why don't you come down here and get these 
stones off the track ? " inquired the officer. " What 
you standing there for ? Do you want to stay here all 
day? Get down." 

Hurstwood breathed heavily in excitement and 
jumped down with the nervous conductor as if he had 
been called. 

" Hurry up, now," said the other policeman. 

Cold as it was, these officers were hot and mad. 
Hurstwood worked with the conductor, lifting stone 
after stone and warming himself by the work. 

" Ah, you scab, you ! " yelled the crowd. " You 
coward! Steal a man's job, will you? Rob the poor, 
will you, you thief? We'll get you yet, now. Wait." 

Not all of this was delivered by one man. It came 
from here and there, incorporated with much more of 
the same sort and curses. 

" Work, you blackguards," yelled a voice. " Do the 
dirty work. You're the suckers that keep the poor 
people down ! " 

" May God starve ye yet," yelled an old Irish woman, 



SISTER CARRIE 467 

who now threw open a nearby window and stuck out 
her head. 

" Yes, and you," she added, catching the eye of one 
of the policemen. " You bloody, murtherin' thafe ! 
Crack my son over the head, will you, you hard- 
hearted, murtherin' divil? Ah, ye " 

But the officer turned a deaf ear. 

" Go to the devil, you old hag," he half muttered as 
he stared round upon the scattered company. 

Now the stones were off, and Hurstwood took his 
place again amid a continued chorus of epithets. Both 
officers got up beside him and the conductor rang the 
bell, when, bang! bang! through window and door 
came rocks and stones. One narrowly grazed Hurst- 
wood's head. Another shattered the window behind. 

" Throw open your lever," yelled one of the officers, 
grabbing at the handle himself. 

Hurstwood complied and the car shot away, followed 
by a rattle of stones and a rain of curses. 

" That hit me in the neck," said one of 

the officers. " I gave him a good crack for it, though." 

" I think I must have left spots on some of them," 
said the other. 

" I know that big guy that called us a ," 

said the first. " I'll get him yet for that." 

" I thought we were in for it sure, once there," said 
the second. 

Hurstwood, warmed and excited, gazed steadily 
ahead. It was an astonishing experience for him. He 
had read of these things, but the reality seemed some- 
thing altogether new. He was no coward in spirit. 
The fact that he had suffered this much now rather 
operated to arouse a stolid determination to stick it 
out. He did not recur in thought to New York or the 
flat. This one trip seemed a consuming thing. 



468 SISTER CARRIE 

They now ran into the business heart of Brooklyn 
uninterrupted. People gazed at the broken windows 
of the car and at Hurstwood in his plain clothes. 
Voices called " scab " now and then, as well as other 
epithets, but no crowd attacked the car. At the down- 
town end of the line, one of the officers went to call up 
his station and report the trouble. 

"There's a gang out there," he said, "laying for us yet. 
Better send some one over there and clean them out." 

The car ran back more quietly — hooted, watched, 
flung at, but not attacked. Hurstwood breathed freely 
when he saw the barns. 

" Well," he observed to himself, " I came out of that 
all right." 

The car was turned in and he was allowed to loaf 
a while, but later he was again called. This time a new 
team of officers was aboard. Slightly more confident, 
he sped the car along the commonplace streets and felt 
somewhat less fearful. On one side, however, he suf- 
fered intensely. The day was raw, with a sprinkling 
of snow and a gusty wind, made all the more intoler- 
able by the speed of the car. His clothing was not in- 
tended for this sort of work. He shivered, stamped his 
feet, and beat his arms as he had seen other motormen 
do in the past, but said nothing. The novelty and danger 
of the situation modified in a way his disgust and distress 
at being compelled to be here, but not enough to prevent 
him from feeling grim and sour. This was a dog's life, 
he thought. It was a tough thing to have to come to. 

The one thought that strengthened him was the insult 
offered by Carrie. He was not down so low as to take 
all that, he thought. He could do something — this, 
even — for a while. It would get better. He would 
save a little. 

A boy threw a clod of mud while he was thus re- 



SISTER CARRIE 469 

fleeting and hit him upon the arm. It hurt sharply and 
angered him more than he had been any time since 
morning. 

" The little cur ! " he muttered. 

" Hurt you ? " asked one of the policemen. 

" No," he answered. 

At one of the corners, where the car slowed up be- 
cause of a turn, an ex-motorman, standing on the side- 
walk, called to him : 

" Won't you come out, pardner, and be a man? Re- 
member we're fighting for decent day's wages, that's 
all. We've got families to support." The man seemed 
most peaceably inclined. 

Hurstwood pretended not to see him. He kept his 
eyes straight on before and opened the lever wide. The 
voice had something appealing in it. 

All morning this went on and long into the after- 
noon. He made three such trips. The dinner he had 
was no stay for such work and the cold was telling on 
him. At each end of the line he stopped to thaw out, 
but he could have groaned at the anguish of it. One 
of the barnmen, out of pity, loaned him a heavy cap 
and a pair of sheepskin gloves, and for once he was 
extremely thankful. 

On the second trip of the afternoon he ran into a 
crowd about half way along the line, that had blocked 
the car's progress with an old telegraph pole. 

" Get that thing off the track," shouted the two 
policemen. 

"Yah, yah, yah!" yelled the crowd. "Get it off 
yourself." 

The two policemen got down and Hurstwood started 
to follow. 

" You stay there," one called. " Some one will run 
away with your car." 



470 SISTER CARRIE 

Amid the babel of voices, Hurstwood heard one close 
beside him. 

" Come down, pardner, and be a man. Don't fight 
the poor. Leave that to the corporations." 

He saw the same fellow who had called to him from 
the corner. Now, as before, he pretended not to hear 
him. 

" Come down," the man repeated gently. " You 
don't want to fight poor men. Don't fight at all." It 
was a most philosophic and Jesuitical motorman. 

A third policeman joined the other two from some- 
where and some one ran to telephone for more officers. 
Hurstwood gazed about, determined but fearful. 

A man grabbed him by the coat. 

" Come off of that," he exclaimed, jerking at him and 
trying to pull him over the railing. 

" Let go," said Hurstwood, savagely. 

" I'll show you — you scab ! " cried a young Irishman, 
jumping up on the car and aiming a blow at Hurst- 
wood. The latter ducked and caught it on the shoulder 
instead of the jaw. 

" Away from here," shouted an officer, hastening to 
the rescue, and adding, of course, the usual oaths. 

Hurstwood recovered himself, pale and trembling. 
It was becoming serious with him now. People were 
looking up and jeering at him. One girl was making 
faces. 

He began to waver in his resolution, when a patrol 
wagon rolled up and more officers dismounted. Now 
the track was quickly cleared and the release effected. 

" Let her go now, quick," said the officer, and again 
he was off. 

The end came with a real mob, which met the car 
on its return trip a mile or two from the barns. It 
was an exceedingly poor-looking neighbourhood. He 



SISTER CARRIE 47 1 

wanted to run fast through it, but again the track was 
blocked. He saw men carrying something out to it 
when he was yet a half-dozen blocks away. 

" There they are again ! " exclaimed one policeman. 

" I'll give them something this time," said the sec- 
ond officer, whose patience was becoming worn. 
Hurstwood suffered a qualm of body as the car rolled 
up. As before, the crowd began hooting, but now, rather 
than come near, they threw things. One or two windows 
were smashed and Hurstwood dodged a stone. 

Both policemen ran out toward the crowd, but the 
latter replied by running toward the car. A woman — 
a mere girl in appearance — was among these, bearing 
a rough stick. She was exceedingly wrathful and 
struck at Hurstwood, who dodged. Thereupon, her 
companions, duly encouraged, jumped on the car and 
pulled Hurstwood over. He had hardly time to speak 
or shout before he fell. 

" Let go of me," he said, falling on his side. 

" Ah, you sucker," he heard some one say. Kicks 
and blows rained on him. He seemed to be suffocating. 
Then two men seemed to be dragging him off and he 
wrestled for freedom. 

" Let up," said a voice, " you're all right. Stand up." 

He was let loose and recovered himself. Now he 
recognised two officers. He felt as if he would faint 
from exhaustion. Something was wet on his chin. 
He put up his hand and felt, then looked. It was red. 

" They cut me," he said, foolishly, fishing for his 
handkerchief. 

" Now, now," said one of the officers. " It's only a 
scratch." 

His senses became cleared now and he looked around. 
He was standing in a little store, where they left him 
for the moment. Outside, he could see, as he stood 



472 SISTER CARRIE 

wiping his chin^ the car and the excited crowd. A 
patrol wagon was there, and another. 

He walked over and looked out. It was an ambu- 
lance, backing in. 

He saw some energetic charging by the police and 
arrests being made. 

" Come on, now, if you want to take your car," said 
an officer, opening the door and looking in. 

He walked out, feeling rather uncertain of himself. 
He was very cold and frightened. 

"Where's the conductor?" he asked. 

■' Oh, he's not here now," said the policeman. 

Hurstwood went toward the car and stepped ner- 
vously on. As he did so there was a pistol shot. 
Something stung his shoulder. 

" Who fired that? " he heard an officer exclaim. " By 
God ! who did that ? " Both left him, running toward 
a certain building. He paused a moment and then got 
down. 

" George ! " exclaimed Hurstwood, weakly, " this is 
too much for me." 

He walked nervously to the corner and hurried down 
a side street. 

" Whew ! " he said, drawing in his breath. 

A half block away, a small girl gazed at him. 

" You'd better sneak," she called. 

He walked homeward in a blinding snowstorm, 
reaching the ferry by dusk. The cabins were filled 
with comfortable souls, who studied him curiously. His 
head was still in such a whirl that he felt confused. All 
the wonder of the twinkling lights of the river in a white 
storm passed for nothing. He trudged doggedly on until 
he reached the flat. There he entered and found the 
room warm. Carrie was gone. A couple of evening 
papers were lying on the table where she left them. He 



SISTER CARRIE 473 

lit the gas and sat down. Then he got up and stripped 
to examine his shoulder. It was a mere scratch. He 
washed his hands and face, still in a brown study, ap- 
parently, and combed his hair. Then he looked for some- 
thing to eat, and finally, 'his hunger gone, sat down in 
his comfortable rocking-chair. It was a wonderful 
relief. 

He put his hand to his chin, forgetting, for the mo- 
ment, the papers. 

" Well," he said, after a time, his nature recovering 
itself, " that's a pretty tough game over there." 

Then he turned and saw the papers. With half a 
sigh he picked up the " World." 

" Strike Spreading in Brooklyn," he read. " Rioting 
Breaks Out in all Parts of the City." 

He adjusted his paper very comfortably and con- 
tinued. It was the one thing he read with absorbing 
interest. 



CHAPTER XLII 
A TOUCH of spring: the empty shell 

Those who look upon Hurstwood's Brooklyn ven- 
ture as an error of judgment will none the less realise 
the negative influence on him of the fact that he had 
tried and failed. Carrie got a wrong idea of it. He 
said so little that she imagined he had encountered 
nothing worse than the ordinary roughness — quitting 
so soon in the face of this seemed trifling. He did not 
want to work. 

She was now one of a group of oriental beauties who, 
in the second act of the comic opera, were paraded by 
the vizier before the new potentate as the treasures of 
his harem. There was no word assigned to any of 
them, but on the evening when Hurstwood was hous- 
ing himself in the loft of the street-car barn, the lead- 
ing comedian and star, feeling exceedingly facetious, 
said in a profound voice, which created a ripple of 
laughter : 

"Well, who are you?" 

It merely happened to be Carrie who was courtesying 
before him. It might as well have been any of the 
others, so far as he was concerned. He expected no 
answer and a dull one would have been reproved. 
But Carrie, whose experience and belief in herself gave 
her daring, courtesied sweetly again and answered : 

" I am yours truly." 

It was a trivial thing to say, and yet something in 



SISTER CARRIE 475 

the way she did it caught the audience, which laughed 
heartily at the mock-fierce potentate towering before 
the young woman. The comedian also liked it, hear- 
ing the laughter. 

" I thought your name was Smith," he returned, en- 
deavouring to get the last laugh. 

Carrie almost trembled for her daring after she had 
said this. All members of the company had been 
warned that to interpolate lines or " business " meant 
a fine or worse. She did not know what to think. 

As she was standing in her proper position in the 
wings, awaiting another entry, the great comedian 
made his exit past her and paused in recognition. 

" You can just leave that in hereafter," he remarked, 
seeing how intelligent she appeared. " Don't add any 
more, though." 

" Thank you," said Carrie, humbly. When he went 
on she found herself trembling violently. 

" Well, you're in luck," remarked another member of 
the chorus. " There isn't another one of us has got a 
line." 

There was no gainsaying the value of this. Every- 
body in the company realised that she had got a start. 
Carrie hugged herself when next evening the lines got 
the same applause. She went home rejoicing, knowing 
that soon something must come of it. It was Hurst- 
wood who, by his presence, caused her merry thoughts 
to flee and replaced them with sharp longings for an 
end of distress. 

The next day she asked him about his venture. 

" They're not trying to run any cars except with 
police. They don't want anybody just now — not be- 
fore next week." 

Next week came, but Carrie saw no change. Hurst- 
wood seemed more apathetic than ever. He saw her 



476 SISTER CARRIE 

off mornings to rehearsals and the like with the utmost 
calm. He read and read. Several times he found him- 
self staring at an item, but thinking of something else. 
The first of these lapses that he sharply noticed con- 
cerned a hilarious party he had once attended at a 
driving club, of which he had been a member. He sat, 
gazing downward, and gradually thought he heard the 
old voices and the clink of glasses. 

" You're a dandy, Hurstwood," his friend Walker 
said. He was standing again well dressed, smiling, 
good-natured, the recipient of encores for a good story. 

All at once he looked up. The room was so still it 
seemed ghostlike. He heard the clock ticking audibly 
and half suspected that he had been dozing. The 
paper was so straight in his hands, however, and the 
items he had been reading so directly before him, that 
he rid himself of the doze idea. Still, it seemed pecu- 
liar. When it occurred a second time, however, it did 
not seem quite so strange. 

Butcher and grocery man, baker and coal man — not 
the group with whom he was then dealing, but those 
who had trusted him to the limit — called. He met 
them all blandly, becoming deft in excuse. At last he 
became bold, pretended to be out, or waved them off. 

" They can't get blood out of a turnip," he said. " If 
I had it I'd pay them." 

Carrie's little soldier friend, Miss Osborne, seeing 
her succeeding, had become a sort of satellite. Little 
Osborne could never of herself amount to anything. 
She seemed to realise it in a sort of pussy-like way 
and instinctively concluded to cling with her soft little 
claws to Carrie. 

" Oh, you'll get up," she kept telling Carrie with 
admiration. " You're so good." 

Timid as Carrie was, she was strong in capability. 



SISTER CARRIE 477 

The reliance of others made her feel as if she must, and 
when she must she dared. Experience of the world 
and of necessity was in her favour. No longer the 
lightest word of a man made her head dizzy. She had 
learned that men could change and fail. Flattery in its 
most palpable form had lost its force with her. It re- 
quired superiority — kindly superiority — to move her — 
the superiority of a genius like Ames. 

" I don't like the actors in our company," she told 
Lola one day. '* They're all so struck on themselves." 

"Don't you think Mr. Barclay's pretty nice?" in- 
quired Lola, who had received a condescending smile 
or two from that quarter. 

" Oh, he's nice enough," answered Carrie ; " but he 
isn't sincere. He assumes such an air." 

Lola felt for her first hold upon Carrie in the follow- 
ing manner: 

"Are you paying room-rent where you are?" 

"Certainly," answered Carrie. "Why?" 

" I know where I could get the loveliest room and 
bath, cheap. It's too big for me, but it would be just 
right for two, and the rent is only six dollars a week 
for both." 

"Where?" said Carrie. 

" In Seventeenth Street." 

" Well, I don't know as I'd care to change," said 
Carrie, who was already turning over the three-dollar 
rate in her mind. She was thinking if she had only 
herself to support this would leave her seventeen for 
herself. 

Nothing came of this until after the Brooklyn ad- 
venture of Hurstwood's and her success with the speak- 
ing part. Then she began to feel as if she must be 
free. She thought of leaving Hurstwood and thus 
making him act for himself, but he had developed such 



478 SISTER CARRIE 

peculiar traits she feared he might resist any effort to 
throw him off. He might hunt her out at the show 
and hound her in that way. She did not wholly believe 
that he would, but he might. This, she knew, would 
be an embarrassing thing if he made himself con- 
spicuous in any way. It troubled her greatly. 

Things were precipitated by the offer of a better 
part. One of the actresses playing the part of a mod- 
est sweetheart gave notice of leaving and Carrie was 
selected. 

"How much are you going to get?" asked Miss 
Osborne, on hearing the good news. 

" I didn't ask him," said Carrie. 

" Well, find out. Goodness, you'll never get any- 
thing if you don't ask. Tell them you must have forty 
dollars, anyhow." 

" Oh, no," said Carrie. 

" Certainly ! " exclaimed Lola. " Ask 'em, anyway." 

Carrie succumbed to this prompting, waiting, how- 
ever, until the manager gave her notice of what cloth- 
ing she must have to fit the part. 

"How much do I get?" she inquired. 

" Thirty-five dollars," he replied. 

Carrie was too much astonished and delighted to 
think of mentioning forty. She was nearly beside her- 
self, and almost hugged Lola, who clung to her at the 
news. 

" It isn't as much as you ought to get," said the lat- 
ter, " especially when you've got to buy clothes." 

Carrie remembered this with a start. Where to get 
the money? She had none laid up for such an emer- 
gency. Rent day was drawing near. 

" I'll not do it," she said, remembering her necessity. 
" I don't use the flat. I'm not going to give up my 
money this time. I'll move." 



SISTER CARRIE 479 

Fitting into this came another appeal from Miss 
Osborne, more urgent than ever. 

" Come live with me, won't you ? " she pleaded. " We 
can have the loveliest room. It won't cost you hardly 
anything that way." 

" I'd like to," said Carrie, frankly. 

" Oh, do," said Lola. " We'll have such a good 
time." 

Carrie thought a while. 

" I believe I will," she said, and then added : " I'll 
have to see first, though." 

With the idea thus grounded, rent day approaching, 
and clothes calling for instant purchase, she soon found 
excuse in Hurstwood's lassitude. He said less and 
drooped more than ever. 

As rent day approached, an idea grew in him. It 
was fostered by the demands of creditors and the im- 
possibility of holding up many more. Twenty-eight 
dollars was too much for rent. " It's hard on her," he 
thought. " We could get a cheaper place." 

Stirred with this idea, he spoke at the breakfast 
table. 

" Don't you think we pay too much rent here ? " he 
asked. 

" Indeed I do," said Carrie, not catching his drift. 

" I should think we could get a smaller place," he 
suggested. " We don't need four rooms." 

Her countenance, had he been scrutinising her, 
would have exhibited the disturbance she felt at this 
evidence of his determination to stay by her. He 
saw nothing remarkable in asking her to come down 
lower. 

" Oh, I don't know," she answered, growing wary. 

" There must be places around here where we could 
get a couple of rooms, which would do just as well." 



480 SISTER CARRIE 

Her heart revolted. " Never ! " she thought. Who 
would furnish the money to move? To think of being 
in two rooms with him ! She resolved to spend her 
money for clothes quickly, before something terrible 
happened. That very day she did it. Having done so, 
there was but one other thing to do. 

" Lola," she said, visiting her friend, " I think I'll 
come." 

" Oh, jolly 1 " cried the latter. 

" Can we get it right away ? " she asked, meaning the 
room. 

" Certainly," cried Lola. 

They went to look at it. Carrie had saved ten dol- 
lars from her expenditures — enough for this and her 
board beside. Her enlarged salary would not begin 
for ten days yet — would not reach her for seventeen. 
She paid half of the six dollars with her friend. 

" Now, I've just enough to get on to the end of the 
week," she confided. 

" Oh, I've got some," said Lola. " I've got twenty- 
five dollars, if you need it." 

" No," said Carrie. " I guess I'll get along." 

They decided to move Friday, which was two days 
away. Now that the thing was settled, Carrie's heart 
misgave her. She felt very much like a criminal in the 
matter. Each day looking at Hurstwood, she had real- 
ised that, along with the disagreeableness of his atti- 
tude, there was something pathetic. 

She looked at him the same evening she had made 
up her mind to go, and now he seemed not so shiftless 
and worthless, but run down and beaten upon by 
chance. His eyes were not keen, his face marked, his 
hands flabby. She thought his hair had a touch of 
grey. All unconscious of his doom, he rocked and 
read his paper, while she glanced at him. 



SISTER CARRIE 48 1 

Knowing that the end was so near, she became rather 
solicitous. 

" Will you go over and get some canned peaches? " 
she asked Hurstwood, laying down a two-dollar bill. 

" Certainly," he said, looking in wonder at the 
money. 

" See if you can get some nice asparagus," she added. 
" I'll cook it for dinner." 

Hurstwood rose and took the money, slipping on his 
overcoat and getting his hat. Carrie noticed that both 
of these articles of apparel were old and poor looking 
in appearance. It was plain enough before, but now 
it came home with peculiar force. Perhaps he couldn't 
help it, after all. He had done well in Chicago. She 
remembered his fine appearance the days he had met 
her in the park. Then he was so sprightly, so clean. 
Had it been all his fault? 

He came back and laid the change down with the 
food. 

" You'd better keep it," she observed. " We'll need 
other things." 

" No," he said, with a sort of pride ; " you keep it." 

" Oh, go on and keep it," she replied, rather un- 
nerved. " There'll be other things." 

He wondered at this, not knowing the pathetic figure 
he had become in her eyes. She restrained herself with 
difficulty from showing a quaver in her voice. 

To say truly, this would have been Carrie's attitude 
in any case. She had looked back at times upon her 
parting from Drouet and had regretted that she had 
served him so badly. She hoped she would never meet 
him again, but she was ashamed of her conduct. Not 
that she had any choice in the final separation. She 
had gone willingly to seek him, with sympathy in her 
heart, when Hurstwood had reported him ill. There 

31 



482 SISTER CARRIE 

was something cruel, somewhere, and not being able 
to track it mentally to its logical lair, she concluded 
with feeling that he would never understand what 
Hurstwood had done and would see hard-hearted de- 
cision in her deed; hence her shame. Not that she 
cared for him. She did not want to make any one 
who had been good to her feel badly. 

She did not realise what she was doing by allowing 
these feelings to possess her. Hurstwood, noticing the 
kindness, conceived better of her. " Carrie's good- 
natured, anyhow," he thought. 

Going to Miss Osborne's that afternoon, she found 
that little lady packing and singing. 

" Why don't you come over with me to-day ? " she 
asked. 

" Oh, I can't," said Carrie. " I'll be there Friday. 
Would you mind lending me the twenty-five dollars you 
spoke of ? " 

" Why, no," said Lola, going for her purse. 

" I want to get some other things," said Carrie. 

" Oh, that's all right," answered the little girl, good- 
naturedly, glad to be of service. 

It had been days since Hurstwood had done more 
than go to the grocery or to the news-stand. Now the 
weariness of indoors was upon him — had been for two 
days — but chill, grey weather had held him back. Fri- 
day broke fair and warm. It was one of those lovely 
harbingers of spring, given as a sign in dreary winter 
that earth is not forsaken of warmth and beauty. The 
blue heaven, holding its one golden orb, poured down 
a crystal wash of warm light. It was plain, from the 
voice of the sparrows, that all was halcyon outside. 
Carrie raised the front windows, and felt the south 
wind blowing. 

" It's lovely out to-day," she remarked. 



SISTER CARRIE 483 

" Is it? " said Hurstwood. 

After breakfast, he immediately got his other clothes. 

" Will you be back for lunch ? " asked Carrie, ner- 
vously. 

" No," he said. 

He went out into the streets and tramped north, 
along Seventh Avenue, idly fixing upon the Harlem 
River as an objective point. He had seen some ships 
up there, the time he had called upon the brewers. He 
wondered how the territory thereabouts was growing. 

Passing Fifty-ninth Street, he took the west side of 
Central Park, which he followed to Seventy-eighth 
Street. Then he remembered the neighbourhood and 
turned over to look at the mass of buildings erected. 
It was very much improved. The great open spaces 
were filling up. Coming back, he kept to the Park 
until 110th Street, and then turned into Seventh Ave- 
nue again, reaching the pretty river by one o'clock. 

There it ran winding before his gaze, shining 
brightly in the clear light, between the undulating 
banks on the right and the tall, tree-covered heights on 
the left. The spring-like atmosphere woke him to a 
sense of its loveliness, and for a few moments he stood 
looking at it, folding his hands behind his back. Then 
he turned and followed it toward the east side, idly 
seeking the ships he had seen. It was four o'clock be- 
fore the waning day, with its suggestion of a cooler 
evening, caused him to return. He was hungry and 
would enjoy eating in the warm room. 

When he reached the flat by half-past five, it was 
still dark. He knew that Carrie was not there, not 
only because there was no light showing through the 
transom, but because the evening papers were stuck be- 
tween the outside knob and the door. He opened with 
his key and went in. Everything was still dark. Light- 



484 SISTER CARRIE 

ing the gas, he sat down, preparing to wait a little 
while. Even if Carrie did come now, dinner would be 
late. He read until six, then got up to fix something 
for himself. 

As he did so, he noticed that the room seemed a little 
queer. What was it? He looked around, as if he 
missed something, and then saw an envelope near 
where he had been sitting. It spoke for itself, almost 
without further action on his part. 

Reaching over, he took it, a sort of chill settling upon 
him even while he reached. The crackle of the en- 
velope in his hands was loud. Green paper money lay 
soft within the note. 

"Dear George," he read, crunching the money in one hand. 
" I'm going away. I'm not coming back any more. It's no use 
trying to keep up the flat ; I can't do it. I wouldn't mind helping 
you, if I could, but I can't support us both, and pay the rent. I 
need what little I make to pay for my clothes. I'm leaving 
twenty dollars. It's all I have just now. You can do whatever 
you like with the furniture. I won't want it. — CARRIE." 

He dropped the note and looked quietly round. Now 
he knew what he missed. It was the little ornamental 
clock, which was hers. It had gone from the mantel- 
piece. He went into the front room, his bedroom, the 
parlour, lighting the gas as he went. From the chif- 
fonier had gone the knick-knacks of silver and plate. 
From the table-top, the lace coverings. He opened 
the "wardrobe — no clothes of hers. He opened the 
drawers — nothing of hers. Her trunk was gone from 
its accustomed place. Back in his own room hung his 
old clothes, just as he had left them. Nothing else was 
gone. 

He stepped into the parlour and stood for a few mo- 
ments looking vacantly at the floor. The silence grew 



SISTER CARRIE 485 

oppressive. The little flat seemed wonderfully de- 
serted. He wholly forgot that he was hungry, that it 
was only dinner-time. It seemed later in the night. 

Suddenly, he found that the money was still in his 
hands. There were twenty dollars in all, as she had 
said. Now he walked back, leaving the lights ablaze, 
and feeling as if the flat were empty. 

" I'll get out of this," he said to himself. 

Then the sheer loneliness of his situation rushed 
upon him in full. 

" Left me ! " he muttered, and repeated, " left me ! " 

The place that had been so comfortable, where he 
had spent so many days of warmth, was now a memory. 
Something colder and chillier confronted him. He 
sank down in his chair, resting his chin in his hand — 
mere sensation, without thought, holding him. 

Then something like a bereaved affection and self- 
pity swept over him. 

" She needn't have gone away," he said. " I'd have 
got something." 

He sat a long while without rocking, and added quite 
clearly, out loud : 

"I tried, didn't I?" 

At midnight he was still rocking, staring at the floor. 



CHAPTER XLIII 

THE WORLD TURNS FLATTERER: AN EYE IN THE DARK 

Installed in her comfortable room, Carrie wondered 
how Hurstwood had taken her departure. She ar- 
ranged a few things hastily and then left for the 
theatre, half expecting to encounter him at the door. 
Not finding him, her dread lifted, and she felt more 
kindly toward him. She quite forgot him until about 
to come out, after the show, when the chance of his 
being there frightened her. As day after day passed 
and she heard nothing at all, the thought of being both- 
ered by him passed. In a little while she was, except 
for occasional thoughts, wholly free of the gloom with 
which her life had been weighed in the flat. 

It is curious to note how quickly a profession absorbs 
one. Carrie became wise in theatrical lore, hearing 
the gossip of little Lola. She learned what the theatri- 
cal papers were, which ones published items about 
actresses and the like. She began to read the news- 
paper notices, not only of the opera in which she had 
so small a part, but of others. Gradually the desire 
for notice took hold of her. She longed to be renowned 
like others, and read with avidity all the complimentary 
or critical comments made concerning others high in 
her profession. The showy world in which her in- 
terest lay completely absorbed her. 

It was about this time that the newspapers and 
magazines were beginning to pay that illustrative at- 



SISTER CARRIE 487 

tention to the beauties of the stage which has since be- 
come fervid. The newspapers, and particularly the 
Sunday newspapers, indulged in large decorative theat- 
rical pages, in which the faces and forms of well-known 
theatrical celebrities appeared, enclosed with artistic 
scrolls. The magazines also — or at least one or two 
of the newer ones — published occasional portraits of 
pretty stars, and now and again photos of. scenes 
from various plays. Carrie watched these with grow- 
ing interest. When would a scene from her opera 
appear? When would some paper think her photo 
worth while? 

The Sunday before taking her new part she scanned 
the theatrical pages for some little notice. It would 
have accorded with her expectations if nothing had 
been said, but there in the squibs, tailing off several 
more substantial items, was a wee notice. Carrie read 
it with a tingling body : 

" The part of Katisha, the country maid, in ' The Wives of 
Abdul ' at the Broadway, heretofore played by Inez Carew, will 
be hereafter filled by Carrie Madenda, one of the cleverest mem- 
bers of the chorus." 

Carrie hugged herself with delight. Oh, wasn't it 
just fine! At last! The first, the long-hoped for, the 
delightful notice ! And they called her clever. She 
could hardly restrain herself from laughing loudly. 
Had Lola seen it? 

" They've got a notice here of the part I'm going to 
play to-morrow night," said Carrie to her friend. 

"Oh, jolly! Have they?" cried Lola, running to 
her. "That's all right," she said, looking. "You'll 
get more now, if you do well. I had my picture in the 
' World ' once." 

" Did you ? " asked Carrie. 



488 SISTER CARRIE 

"Did I? Well, I should say," returned the little 
girl. " They had a frame around it." 

Carrie laughed. 

" They've never published my picture." 

" But they will," said Lola. " You'll see. You do 
better than most that get theirs in now." 

Carrie felt deeply grateful for this. She almost loved 
Lola for the sympathy and praise she extended. It 
was so helpful to her — so almost necessary. 

Fulfilling her part capably brought another notice 
in the papers that she was doing her work acceptably. 
This pleased her immensely. She began to think the 
world was taking note of her. 

The first week she got her thirty-five dollars, it 
seemed an enormous sum. Paying only three dollars 
for room rent seemed ridiculous. After giving Lola 
her twenty-five, she still had seven dollars left. With 
four left over from previous earnings, she had eleven. 
Five of this went to pay the regular installment on the 
clothes she had to buy. The next week she was even 
in greater feather. Now, only three dollars need be 
paid for room rent and five on her clothes. The rest 
she had for food and her own whims. 

" You'd better save a little for summer," cautioned 
Lola. "We'll probably close in May." 

" I intend to," said Carrie. 

The regular entrance of thirty-five dollars a week to 
one who has endured scant allowances for several years 
is a demoralising thing. Carrie found her purse burst- 
ing with good green bills of comfortable denomina- 
tions. Having no one dependent upon her, she began 
to buy pretty clothes and pleasing trinkets, to eat well, 
and to ornament her room. Friends were not long in 
gathering about. She met a few young men who be- 
longed to Lola's staff. The members of the opera 






SISTER CARRIE 489 

company made her acquaintance without the formality 
of introduction. One of these discovered a fancy for 
her. On several occasions he strolled home with her. 

" Let's stop in and have a rarebit," he suggested one 
midnight. 

" Very well," said Carrie. 

In the rosy restaurant, filled with the merry lovers 
of late hours, she found herself criticising this man. 
He was too stilted, too self-opinionated. He did not 
talk of anything that lifted her above the common run 
of clothes and material success. When it was all over, 
he smiled most graciously. 

" Got to go straight home, have you ? " he said. 

" Yes/'' she answered, with an air of quiet under- 
standing. 

" She's not so inexperienced as she looks," he 
thought, and thereafter his respect and ardour were 
increased. 

She could not help sharing in Lola's love for a good 
time. There were days when they went carriage rid- 
ing, nights when after the show they dined, afternoons 
when they strolled along Broadway, tastefully dressed. 
She was getting in the meropolitan whirl of pleasure. 

At last her picture appeared in one of the weeklies. 
She had not known of it, and it took her breath. " Miss 
Carrie Madenda," it was labelled. " One of the favour- 
ites of ' The Wives of Abdul ' company." At Lola's 
advice she had had some pictures taken by Sarony. 
They had got one there. She thought of going down 
and buying a few copies of the paper, but remembered 
that there was no one she knew well enough to send 
them to. Only Lola, apparently, in all the world was 
interested. 

The metropolis is a cold place socially, and Carrie 
soon found that a little money brought her nothing. 



490 SISTER CARRIE 

The world of wealth and distinction was quite as far 
away as ever. She could feel that there was no warm, 
sympathetic friendship back of the easy merriment 
with which many approached her. All seemed to be 
seeking their own amusement, regardless of the pos- 
sible sad consequence to others. So much for the les- 
sons of Hurstwood and Drouet. 

In April she learned that the opera would probably 
last until the middle or the end of May, according to 
the size of the audiences. Next season it would go on 
the road. She wondered if she would be with it. As 
usual, Miss Osborne, owing to her moderate salary, 
was for securing a home engagement. 

" They're putting on a summer play at the Casino," 
she announced, after figuratively putting her ear to the 
ground. " Let's try and get in that." 

" I'm willing," said Carrie. 

They tried in time and were apprised of the proper 
date to apply again. That was May 16th. Meanwhile 
their own show closed May 5th. 

" Those that want to go with the show next season," 
said the manager, " will have to sign this week." 

" Don't you sign," advised Lola. " I wouldn't 

go." 

" I know," said Carrie, " but maybe I can't get any- 
thing else." 

" Well, I won't," said the little girl, who had a re- 
source in her admirers. " I went once and I didn't 
have anything at the end of the season." 

Carrie thought this over. She had never been on 
the road. 

" We can get along," added Lola. " I always have." 

Carrie did not sign. 

The manager who was putting on the summer skit 

at the Casino had never heard of Carrie, but the several 



SISTER CARRIE 49 1 

notices she had received, her published picture, and 
the programme bearing her name had some little 
weight with him. He gave her a silent part at thirty 
dollars a week. 

" Didn't I tell you ? " said Lola. " It doesn't do you 
any good to go away from New York. They forget all 
about you if you do." 

Now, because Carrie was pretty, the gentlemen who 
made up the advance illustrations of shows about to 
appear for the Sunday papers selected Carrie's photo 
along with others to illustrate the announcement. Be- 
cause she was very pretty, they gave it excellent space 
and drew scrolls about it, Carrie was delighted. Still, 
the management did not seem to have seen anything of 
it. At least, no more attention was paid to her than 
before. At the same time there seemed very little in 
her part. It consisted of standing around in all sorts 
of scenes, a silent little Quakeress. The author of the 
skit had fancied that a great deal could be made of 
such a part, given to the right actress, but now, since it 
had been doled out to Carrie, he would as leave have 
had it cut out. 

" Don't kick, old man," remarked the manager. " If 
it don't go the first week we will cut it out." 

Carrie had no warning of this halcyon intention. 
She practised her part ruefully, feeling that she was 
effectually shelved. At the dress rehearsal she was 
disconsolate. 

" That isn't so bad," said the author, the manager 
noting the curious effect which Carrie's blues had upon 
the part. " Tell her to frown a little more when Sparks 
dances." 

Carrie did not know it, but there was the least show 
of wrinkles between her eyes and her mouth was puck- 
ered quaintly. 



492 SISTER CARRIE 

" Frown a little more, Miss Madenda," said the stage 
manager. 

Carrie instantly brightened up, thinking he had 
meant it as a rebuke. 

" No ; frown," he said. " Frown as you did before." 

Carrie looked at him in astonishment. 

" I mean it," he said. " Frown hard when Mr. Sparks 
dances. I want to see how it looks." 

It was easy enough to do. Carrie scowled. The 
effect was something so quaint and droll it caught even 
the manager. 

"That is good," he said. "If she'll do that all 
through, I think it will take." 

Going over to Carrie, he said : 

" Suppose you try frowning all through. Do it 
hard. Look mad. It'll make the part really funny." 

On the opening night it looked to Carrie as if there 
were nothing to her part, after all. The happy, swel- 
tering audience did not seem to see her in the first act. 
She frowned and frowned, but to no effect. Eyes were 
riveted upon the more elaborate efforts of the stars. 

In the second act, the crowd, wearied by a dull con- 
versation, roved with its eyes about the stage and 
sighted her. There she was, grey-suited, sweet-faced, 
demure, but scowling. At first the general idea was 
that she was temporarily irritated, that the look was 
genuine and not fun at all. As she went on frowning, 
looking now at one principal and now at the other, the 
audience began to smile. The portly gentlemen in the 
front rows began to feel that she was a delicious little 
morsel. It was 'the kind of frown they would have 
loved to force away with kisses. All the gentlemen 
yearned toward her. She was capital. 

At last, the chief comedian, singing in the centre of 
the stage, noticed a giggle where it was not expected. 



SISTER CARRIE 



493 



Then another and another. When the place came for 
loud applause it was only moderate. What could be 
the trouble? He realised that something was up. 

All at once, after an exit, he caught sight of Carrie. 
She was frowning alone on the stage and the audience 
was giggling and laughing. 

" By George, I won't stand that ! " thought the thes- 
pian. "■ I'm not going to have my work cut up by some 
one else. Either she quits that when I do my turn 
or I quit." 

" Why, that's all right," said the manager, when the 
kick came. " That's what she's supposed to do. You 
needn't pay any attention to that." 

" But she ruins my work." 

" No, she don't," returned the former, soothingly. 
" It's only a little fun on the side." 

" It is, eh ? " exclaimed the big comedian. " She 
killed my hand all right. I'm not going to stand that." 

" Well, wait until after the show. Wait until to- 
morrow. We'll see what we can do." 

The next act, however, settled what was to be done. 
Carrie was the chief feature of the play. The audi- 
ence, the more it studied her, the more it indicated its 
delight. Every other feature paled beside the quaint, 
teasing, delightful atmosphere which Carrie contrib- 
uted while on the stage. Manager and company real- 
ised she had made a hit. 

The critics of the daily papers completed her tri- 
umph. There were long notices in praise of the qual- 
ity of the burlesque, touched with recurrent references 
to Carrie. The contagious mirth of the thing was 
repeatedly emphasised. 

"Miss Madenda presents one of the most delightful bits of 
character work ever seen on the Casino stage," observed the 
sage critic of the " Sun." " It is a bit of quiet, unassuming droll- 



494 SISTER CARRIE 

ery which warms like good wine. Evidently the part was not in- 
tended to take precedence, as Miss Madenda is not often on the 
stage, but the audience, with the characteristic perversity of such 
bodies, selected for itself. The little Quakeress was marked for a 
favourite the momentshe appeared, and thereafter easily held atten- 
tion and applause. The vagaries of fortune are indeed curious." 

The critic of the " Evening World," seeking as usual 
to establish a catch phrase which should " go " with 
the town, wound up by advising : " If you wish to be 
merry, see Carrie frown." 

The result was miraculous so far as Carrie's fortune 
was concerned. Even during the morning she received 
a congratulatory message from the manager. 

" You seem to have taken the town by storm," he 
wrote. "This is delightful. I am as glad for your 
sake as for my own." 

The author also sent word. 

That evening when she entered the theatre the man- 
ager had a most pleasant greeting for her. 

" Mr. Stevens," he said, referring to the author, " is 
preparing a little song, which he would like you to 
sing next week." 

" Oh, I can't sing," returned Carrie. 

" It isn't anything difficult. ' It's something that is 
very simple/ he says, ' and would suit you exactly.' " 

" Of course, I wouldn't mind trying," said Carrie, 
archly. 

, " Would you mind coming to the box-office a few 
moments before you dress? " observed the manager, in 
addition. " There's a little matter I want to speak to 
you about." 

" Certainly," replied Carrie. 

In that latter place the manager produced a paper. 

" Now, of course," he said, " we want to be fair with 
you in the matter of salary. Your contract here only 



SISTER CARRIE 495 

calls for thirty dollars a week for the next three months. 
How would it do to make it, say, one hundred and fifty 
a week and extend it for twelve months ? " 

" Oh, very well," said Carrie, scarcely believing her 
ears. 

" Supposing, then, you just sign this." 

Carrie looked and beheld a new contract made out 
like the other one, with the exception of the new figures 
of salary and time. With a hand trembling from ex- 
citement she affixed her name. 

" One hundred and fifty a week ! " she murmured, 
when she was again alone. She found, after all — as 
what millionaire has not ? — that there was no realising, 
in consciousness, the meaning of large sums. It was 
only a shimmering, glittering phrase in which lay a 
world of possibilities. 

Down in a third-rate Bleecker Street hotel, the 
brooding Hurstwood read the dramatic item covering 
Carrie's success, without at first realising who was 
meant. Then suddenly it came to him and he read the 
whole thing over again. 

" That's her, all right, I guess," he said. 

Then he looked about upon a dingy, moth-eaten hotel 
lobby. 

" I guess she's struck it," he thought, a picture of 
the old shiny, plush-covered world coming back, with 
its lights, its ornaments, its carriages, and flowers. 
Ah, she was in the walled city now ! Its splendid gates 
had opened, admitting her from a cold, dreary outside. 
She seemed a creature afar off — like every other celeb- 
rity he had known. 

" Well, let her have it," he said. " I won't bother 
her." 

It was the grim resolution of a bent, bedraggled, but 
unbroken pride. 



CHAPTER XLIV 

AND THIS IS NOT ELF LAND : WHAT GOLD WILL NOT BUY 

When Carrie got back on the stage, she found that 
over night her dressing-room had been changed. 

" You are to use this room, Miss Madenda," said one 
of the stage lackeys. 

No longer any need of climbing several flights of 
steps to a small coop shared with another. Instead, 
a comparatively large and commodious chamber with 
conveniences not enjoyed by the small fry overhead. 
She breathed deeply and with delight. Her sensa- 
tions were more physical than mental. In fact, she 
Was scarcely thinking at all. Heart and body were 
having their say. 

Gradually the deference and congratulation gave her 
a mental appreciation of her state. She was no longer 
ordered, but requested, and that politely. The other 
members of the cast looked at her enviously as she 
came out arrayed in her simple habit, which she wore 
all through the play. All those who had supposedly 
been her equals and superiors now smiled the smile of 
sociability, as much as to say : " How friendly we have 
always been." Only the star comedian whose part 
had been so deeply injured stalked by himself. Figu- 
ratively, he could not kiss the hand that smote him. 

Doing her simple part, Carrie gradually realised the 
meaning of the applause which was for her, and it was 
sweet. She felt mildly guilty of something — perhaps 



SISTER CARRIE 497 

unworthiness. When her associates addressed her in 
the wings she only smiled weakly. The pride and 
daring of place were not for her. It never once crossed 
her mind to be reserved or haughty — to be other than 
she had been. After the performances she rode to her 
room with Lola, in a carriage provided. 

Then came a week in which the first fruits of success 
were offered to her lips — bowl after bowl. It did not 
matter that her splendid salary had not begun. The 
world seemed satisfied with the promise. She began 
to get letters and cards. A Mr. Withers — whom she 
did not know from Adam — having learned by some 
hook or crook where she resided, bowed himself po- 
litely in. 

" You will excuse me for intruding," he said ; " but 
have you been thinking of changing your apartments?" 

" I hadn't thought of it," returned Carrie. 

" Well, I am connected with the Wellington — the 
new hotel on Broadway. You have probably seen no- 
tices of it in the papers." 

Carrie recognised the name as standing for one of 
the newest and most imposing hostelries. She had 
heard it spoken of as having a splendid restaurant. 

" Just so," went on Mr. Withers, accepting her ac- 
knowledgment of familiarity. " We have some very- 
elegant rooms at present which we would like to have 
you look at, if you have not made up your mind where 
you intend to reside for the summer. Our apartments 
are perfect in every detail — hot and cold water, private 
baths, special hall service for every floor, elevators, and 
all that. You know what our restaurant is." 

Carrie looked at him quietly. She was wondering 
whether he took her to be a millionaire. 

" What are your rates ? " she inquired. 

" Well, now, that is what I came to talk with you 
32 



498 SISTER CARRIE 

privately about. Our regular rates are anywhere from 
three to fifty dollars a day." 

" Mercy ! " interrupted Carrie. " I couldn't pay any 
such rate as that." 

" I know how you feel about it," exclaimed Mr. 
Withers, halting. " But just let me explain. I said 
those are our regular rates. Like every other hotel we 
make special ones, however. Possibly you have not 
thought about it, but your name is worth something 
to us." 

" Oh ! " ejaculated Carrie, seeing at a glance. 

" Of course. Every hotel depends upon the repute 
of its patrons. A well-known actress like yourself," 
and he bowed politely, while Carrie flushed, " draws 
attention to the hotel, and — although you may not be- 
lieve it — patrons." 

" Oh, yes," returned Carrie, vacantly, trying to ar- 
range this curious proposition in her mind. 

" Now," continued Mr. Withers, swaying his derby 
hat softly and beating one of his polished shoes upon 
the floor, " I want to arrange, if possible, to have you 
come and stop at the Wellington. You need not 
trouble about terms. In fact, we need hardly discuss 
them. Anything will do for the summer — a mere 
figure — anything that you think you could afford to 
pay." 

Carrie was about to interrupt, but he gave her no 
chance. 

" You can come to-day or to-morrow — the earlier the 
better — and we will give you your choice of nice, light, 
outside rooms — the very best we have." 

" You're very kind," said Carrie, touched by the 
agent's extreme affability. " I should like to come 
very much. I would want to pay what is right, how- 
ever. I shouldn't want to——" 



SISTER CARRIE 499 

" You need not trouble about that at all," interrupted 
Mr. Withers. " We can arrange that to your entire 
satisfaction at any time. If three dollars a day is satis- 
factory to you, it will be so to us. All you have to do is 
to pay that sum to the clerk at the end of the week or 
month, just as you wish, and he will give you a receipt 
for what the rooms would cost if charged for at our 
regular rates." 

The speaker paused. 

" Suppose you come and look at the rooms," he 
added. 

" I'd be glad to," said Carrie, " but I have a rehearsal 
this morning." 

" I did not mean at once," he returned. " Any time 
will do. Would this afternoon be inconvenient? " 

" Not at all," said Carrie. 

Suddenly she remembered Lola, who was out at the 
time. 

" I have a room-mate," she added, " who will have 
to go wherever I do. I forgot about that." 

" Oh, very well," said Mr. Withers, blandly. " It is 
for you to say whom you want with you. As I say, 
all that can be arranged to suit yourself." 

He bowed and backed toward the door. 

" At four, then, we may expect you ? " 

" Yes," said Carrie. 

" I will be there to show you," and so Mr. Withers 
withdrew. 

After rehearsal Carrie informed Lola. 

" Did they really? " exclaimed the latter, thinking of 
the Wellington as a group of managers. " Isn't that 
fine? Oh, jolly! It's so swell. That's where we 
dined that night we went with those two Cushing boys. 
Don't you know? " 

" I remember," said Carrie. 



5oo 



SISTER CARRIE 



" Oh, it's as fine as it can be." 

" We'd better be going up there," observed Carrie, 
later in the afternoon. 

The rooms which Mr. Withers displayed to Carrie 
and Lola were three and bath — a suite on the parlour 
floor. They were done in chocolate and dark red, with 
rugs and hangings to match. Three windows looked 
down into busy Broadway on the east, three into a side 
street which crossed there. There were two lovely 
bedrooms, set with brass and white enamel beds, white, 
ribbon-trimmed chairs and chiffoniers to match. In 
the third room, or parlour, was a piano, a heavy piano 
lamp, with a shade of gorgeous pattern, a library table, 
several huge easy rockers, some dado book shelves, 
and a gilt curio case, filled with oddities. Pictures 
were upon the walls, soft Turkish pillows upon the 
divan, footstools of brown plush upon the floor. Such 
accommodations would ordinarily cost a hundred dol- 
lars a week. 

" Oh, lovely ! " exclaimed Lola, walking about. 

" It is comfortable," said Carrie, who was lifting a 
lace curtain and looking down into crowded Broadway. 

The bath was a handsome affair, done in white 
enamel, with a large, blue-bordered stone tub and 
nickel trimmings. It was bright and commodious, 
with a bevelled mirror set in the wall at one end and 
incandescent lights arranged in three places. 

"Do you find these satisfactory?" observed Mr. 
Withers. 

" Oh, very," answered Carrie. 

" Well, then, any time you find it convenient to move 
in, they are ready. The boy will bring you the keys 
at the door." 

Carrie noted the elegantly carpeted and decorated 
hall, the marbelled lobby, and showy waiting-room. 



SISTER CARRIE 50 1 

It was such a place as she had often dreamed of 
occupying. 

" I guess we'd better move right away, don't you 
think so ? " she observed to Lola, thinking of the com- 
monplace chamber in Seventeenth Street. 

" Oh, by all means," said the latter. 

The next day her trunks left for the new abode. 

Dressing, after the matinee on Wednesday, a knock 
came at her dressing-room door. 

Carrie looked at the card handed by the boy and suf- 
fered a shock of surprise. 

"Tell her I'll be right out," she said softly. Then, 
looking at the card, added : " Mrs. Vance." 

" Why, you little sinner," the latter exclaimed, as she 
saw Carrie coming toward her across the now vacant 
stage. " How in the world did this happen ? " 

Carrie laughed merrily. There was no trace of em- 
barrassment in her friend's manner. You would have 
thought that the long separation had come about acci- 
dentally. 

" I don't know," returned Carrie, warming, in spite 
of her first troubled feelings, toward this handsome, good- 
natured young matron. 

" Well, you know, I saw your picture in the Sunday 
paper, but your name threw me off. I thought it must 
be you or somebody that looked just like you, and I 
said : ' Well, now, I will go right down there and see.' 
I was never more surprised in my life. How are you, 
anyway? " 

" Oh, very well," returned Carrie. " How have you 
been?" 

" Fine. But aren't you a success ! Dear, oh ! All 
the papers talking about you. I should think you 
would be just too proud to breathe. I was almost 
afraid to come back here this afternoon." 



502 SISTER CARRIE 

" Oh, nonsense," said Carrie, blushing. " You know 
I'd be glad to see you." 

" Well, anyhow, here you are. Can't you come up 
and take dinner with me now? Where are you stop- 
ping?" 

" At the Wellington," said Carrie, who permitted 
herself a touch of pride in the acknowledgment. 

"Oh, are you?" exclaimed the other, upon whom 
the name was not without its proper effect. 

Tactfully, Mrs. Vance avoided the subject of Hurst- 
wood, of whom she could not help thinking. No doubt 
Carrie had left him. That much she surmised. 

" Oh, I don't think I can," said Carrie, " to-night. I 
have so little time. I must be back here by 7.30. 
Won't you come and dine with me ? " 

" I'd be delighted, but I can't to-night," said Mrs. 
Vance, studying Carrie's fine appearance. The latter's 
good fortune made her seem more than ever worthy 
and delightful in the other's eyes. " I promised faith- 
fully to be home at six." Glancing at the small gold 
watch pinned to her bosom, she added : " I must be 
going, too. Tell me when you're coming up, if at all." 

" Why, any time you like," said Carrie. 

" Well, to-morrow then. I'm living at the Chelsea 
now." 

" Moved again ? " exclaimed Carrie, laughing. 

" Yes. You know I can't stay six months in one place. 
I just have to move. Remember now — half-past 
five." 

" I won't forget," said Carrie, casting a glance at her 
as she went away. Then it came to her that she was 
as good as this woman now — perhaps better. Some- 
thing in the other's solicitude and interest made her 
feel as if she were the one to condescend. 

Now, as on each preceding day, letters were handed 



SISTER CARRIE 



503 



her by the doorman at the Casino. This was a feature 
which had rapidly developed since Monday. What 
they contained she well knew. Mash notes were old 
affairs in their mildest form. She remembered having 
received her first one far back in Columbia City. Since 
then, as a chorus girl, she had received others — gentle- 
men who prayed for an engagement. They were com- 
mon sport between her and Lola, who received some 
also. They both frequently made light of them. 

Now, however, they came thick and fast. Gentle- 
men with fortunes did not hesitate to note, as an addi- 
tion to their own amiable collection of virtues, that 
they had their horses and carriages. Thus one : 

"I have a million in my own right. I could give you every 
luxury. There isn't anything you could ask for that you couldn't 
have. I say this, not because I want to speak of my money, but 
because I love you and wish to gratify your every desire. It is 
love that prompts me to write. Will you not give me one half- 
hour in which to plead my cause ? " 

Such of these letters as came while Carrie was still 
in the Seventeenth Street place were read with more 
interest — though never delight — than those which ar- 
rived after she was installed in her luxurious quarters 
at the Wellington. Even there her vanity — or that 
self-appreciation which, in its more rabid form, is 
called vanity — was not sufficiently cloyed to make 
these things wearisome. Adulation, being new in any 
form, pleased her. Only she was sufficiently wise to 
distinguish between her old condition and her new one. 
She had not had fame or money before. Now they 
had come. She had not had adulation and affectionate 
propositions before. Now they had come. Where- 
fore? She smiled to think that men should suddenly 
find her so much more attractive. In the least way it 
incited her to coolness and indifference. 



504 SISTER CARRIE 

" Do look here," she remarked to Lola. " See what 
this man says : ' If you will only deign to grant me one 
half-hour,' " she repeated, with an imitation of languor. 
" The idea. Aren't men silly ? " 

" He must have lots of money, the way he talks," 
observed Lola. 

" That's what they all say," said Carrie, innocently. 

" Why don't you see him," suggested Lola, " and 
hear what he has to say? " 

" Indeed I won't," said Carrie. " I know what he'd 
say. I don't want to meet anybody that way." 

Lola looked at her with big, merry eyes. 

" He couldn't hurt you," she returned. " You might 
have some fun with him." 

Carrie shook her head. 

" You're awfully queer," returned the little, blue- 
eyed soldier. 

Thus crowded fortune. For this whole week, though 
her large salary had not yet arrived, it was as if the 
world understood and trusted her. Without money — 
or the requisite sum, at least — she enjoyed the luxuries 
which money could buy. For her the doors of fine 
places seemed to open quite without the asking. These 
palatial chambers, how marvellously they came to her. 
The elegant apartments of Mrs. Vance in the Chelsea — 
these were hers. Men sent flowers, love notes, offers 
of fortune. And still her dreams ran riot. The one 
hundred and fifty! the one hundred and fifty! What 
a door to an Aladdin's cave it seemed to be. Each day, 
her head almost turned by developments, her fancies 
of what her fortune must be, with ample money, grew 
and multiplied. She conceived of delights which were 
not — saw lights of joy that never were on land or sea. 
Then, at last, after a world of anticipation, came her 
first installment of one hundred and fifty dollars. 



SISTER CARRIE 505 

It was paid to her in greenbacks — three twenties, 
six tens, and six fives. Thus collected it made a very- 
convenient roll. It was accompanied by a smile and 
a salutation from the cashier who paid it. 

" Ah, yes," said the latter, when she applied; " Miss 
Madenda — one hundred and fifty dollars. Quite a suc- 
cess the show seems to have made." 

" Yes, indeed," returned Carrie. 

Right after came one of the insignificant members 
of the company, and she heard the changed tone of 
address. 

" How much ? " said the same cashier, sharply. One, 
such as she had only recently been, was waiting for her 
modest salary. It took her back to the few weeks in 
which she had collected — or rather had received — al- 
most with the air of a domestic, four-fifty per week 
from a lordly foreman in a shoe factory — a man who, in 
distributing the envelopes, had the manner of a prince 
doling out favours to a servile group of petitioners. 
She knew that out in Chicago this very day the same 
factory chamber was full of poor homely-clad girls 
working in long lines at clattering machines; that at 
noon they would eat a miserable lunch in a half-hour ; 
that Saturday they would gather, as they had when she 
was one of them, and accept the small pay for work a 
hundred times harder than she was now doing. Oh, 
it was so easy now! The world was so rosy and 
bright. She felt so thrilled that she must needs 
walk back to the hotel to think, wondering what she 
should do. 

It does not take money long to make plain its im- 
potence, providing the desires are in the realm of affec- 
tion. With her one hundred and fifty in hand, Carrie 
could think of nothing particularly to do. In itself, as 
a tangible, apparent thing which she could touch and 



506 SISTER CARRIE 

look upon, it was a diverting thing- for a few days, but 
this soon passed. Her hotel bill did not require its use. 
Her clothes had for some time been wholly satisfactory. 
Another day or two and she would receive another hun- 
dred and fifty. It began to appear as if this were not 
so startlingly necessary to maintain her present state. 
If she wanted to do anything better or move higher she 
must have more — a great deal more. 

Now a critic called to get up one of those tinsel inter- 
views which shine with clever observations, show up 
the wit of critics, display the folly of celebrities, and 
divert the public. He liked Carrie, and said so, pub- 
licly — adding, however, that she was merely pretty, 
good-natured, and lucky. This cut like a knife. The 
" Herald," getting up an entertainment for the benefit 
of its free ice fund, did her the honour to beg her to ap- 
pear along with celebrities for nothing. She was vis- 
ited by a young author, who had a play which he 
thought she could produce. Alas, she could not judge. 
It hurt her to think it. Then she found she must put 
her money in the bank for safety, and so moving, finally 
reached the place where it struck her that the door to 
life's perfect enjoyment was not open. 

Gradually she began to think it was because it was 
summer. Nothing was going on much save such en- 
tertainments as the one in which she was star. Fifth 
Avenue was boarded up where the rich had deserted 
their mansions. Madison Avenue was little better. 
Broadway was full of loafing thespians in search of next 
season engagements. The whole city was quiet and 
her nights were taken up with her work. Hence the 
feeling that there was little to do. 

" I don't know," she said to Lola one day, sitting at 
one of the windows which looked down into Broad- 
way, " I get lonely; don't you? " 



SISTER CARRIE 507 

" No," said Lola, " not very often. You won't go 
anywhere. That's what's the matter with you." 

"Where can I go?" 

" Why, there're lots of places," returned Lola, who 
was thinking of her own lightsome tourneys with the 
gay youths. " You won't go with anybody." 

" I don't want to go with these people who write to 
me. I know what kind they are." 

" You oughtn't to be lonely," said Lola, thinking of 
Carrie's success. " There're lots would give their ears 
to be in your shoes." 

Carrie looked out again at the passing crowd. 

" I don't know," she said. 

Unconsciously her idle hands were beginning to 
weary. 



CHAPTER XLV 

CURIOUS SHIFTS OF THE POOR 

The gloomy Hurstwood, sitting in his cheap hotel, 
where he had taken refuge with seventy dollars — the 
price of his furniture — between him and nothing, saw 
a hot summer out and a cool fall in, reading. He was 
not wholly indifferent to the fact that his money was 
slipping away. As fifty cents after fifty cents were paid 
out for a day's lodging he became uneasy, and finally 
took a cheaper room — thirty-five cents a day — to make 
his money last longer. Frequently he saw notices of 
Carrie. Her picture was in the " World " once or 
twice, and an old " Herald " he found in a chair in- 
formed him that she had recently appeared with some 
others at a benefit for something or other. He read 
these things with mingled feelings. Each one seemed 
to put her farther and farther away into a realm which 
became more imposing as it receded from him. On 
the bill-boards, too, he saw a pretty poster, showing 
her as the Quaker Maid, demure and dainty. More 
than once he stopped and looked at these, gazing at 
the pretty face in a sullen sort of way. His clothes 
were shabby, and he presented a marked contrast to 
all that she now seemed to be. 

Somehow, so long as he knew she was at the Casino, 
though he had never any intention of going near her, 
there was a sub-conscious comfort for him — he was not 
quite alone. The show seemed such a fixture that, after 
a month or two, he began to take it for granted that it 



SISTER CARRIE 509 

was still running. In September it went on the road 
and he did not notice it. When all but twenty dollars 
of his money was gone, he moved to a fifteen-cent 
lodging-house in the Bowery, where there was a bare 
lounging-room filled with tables and benches as well 
as some chairs. Here his preference was to close his 
eyes and dream of other days, a habit which grew upon 
him. It was not sleep at first, but a mental hearkening 
back to scenes and incidents in his Chicago life. As 
the present became darker, the past grew brighter, and 
all that concerned it stood in relief. 

He was unconscious of just how much this habit had 
hold of him until one day he found his lips repeating 
an old answer he had made to one of his friends. They 
were in Fitzgerald and Moy's. It was as if he stood 
in the door of his elegant little office, comfortably 
dressed, talking to Sagar Morrison about the value of 
South Chicago real estate in which the latter was about 
to invest. 

" How would you like to come in on that with me? " 
he heard Morrison say. 

" Not me," he answered, just as he had years before. 
" I have my hands full now." 

The movement of his lips aroused him. He won- 
dered whether he had really spoken. The next time 
he noticed anything of the sort he really did talk. 

"Why don't you jump, you bloody fool?" he was 
saying. " Jump ! " 

It was a funny English story he was telling to a com- 
pany of actors. Even as his voice recalled him, he was 
smiling. A crusty old codger, sitting near by, seemed 
disturbed; at least, he stared in a most pointed way. 
Hurstwood straightened up. The humour of the 
memory fled in an instant and he felt ashamed. For 
relief, he left his chair and strolled out into the streets. 



5io 



SISTER CARRIE 



One day, looking down the ad. columns of the 
" Evening World," he saw where a new play was at 
the Casino. Instantly, he came to a mental halt. Car- 
rie had gone ! He remembered seeing a poster of her 
only yesterday, but no doubt it was one left uncovered 
by the new signs. Curiously, this fact shook him up. 
He had almost to admit that somehow he was depend- 
ing upon her being in the city. Now she was gone. 
He wondered how this important fact had skipped him. 
Goodness knows when she would be back now. Im- 
pelled by a nervous fear, he rose and went into the 
dingy hall, where he counted his remaining money, un- 
seen. There were but ten dollars in all. 

He wondered how all these other lodging-house 
people around him got along. They didn't seem to 
do anything. Perhaps they begged — unquestionably 
they did. Many was the dime he had given to such 
as they in his day. He had seen other men asking for 
money on the streets. Maybe he could get some that 
way. There was horror in this thought. 

Sitting in the lodging-house room, he came to his 
last fifty cents. He had saved and counted until his 
health was affected. His stoutness had gone. With 
it, even the semblance of a fit in his clothes. Now he 
decided he must do something, and, walking about, saw 
another day go by, bringing him down to his last 
twenty cents — not enough to eat for the morrow. 

Summoning all his courage, he crossed to Broadway 
and up to the Broadway Central hotel. Within a block 
he halted, undecided. A big, heavy-faced porter was 
standing at one of the side entrances, looking out. 
Hurstwood purposed to appeal to him. Walking 
straight up, he was upon him before he could turn 
away. 

" My friend," he said, recognising even in his plight 



SISTER CARRIE 51 1 

the man's inferiority, " is there anything about this 
hotel that I could get to do ? " 

The porter stared at him the while he continued to 
talk. 

'"I'm out of work and out of money and I've got 
to get something — it doesn't matter what. I don't 
care to talk about what I've been, but if you'd tell me 
how to get something to do, I'd be much obliged to 
you. It wouldn't matter if it only lasted a few days 
just now. I've got to have something." 

The porter still gazed, trying to look indifferent. 
Then, seeing that Hurstwood was about to go on, he 
said: 

" I've nothing to do with it. You'll have to ask 
inside." 

Curiously, this stirred Hurstwood to further effort. 

" I thought you might tell me." 

The fellow shook his head irritably. 

Inside went the ex-manager and straight to an office 
off the clerk's desk. One of the managers of the hotel 
happened to be there. Hurstwood looked him straight 
in the eye. 

" Could you give me something to do for a few 
days?" he said. "I'm in a position where I have to 
get something at once." 

The comfortable manager looked at him, as much 
as to say: " Well, I should judge so." 

" I came here," explained Hurstwood, nervously, 
" because I've been a manager myself in my day. 
I've had bad luck in a way, but I'm not here to tell 
you that. I want something to do, if only for a 
week." 

The man imagined he saw a feverish gleam in the 
applicant's eye. 

"What hotel did you manage?" he inquired. 



512 SISTER CARRIE 

" It wasn't a hotel," said Hurstwood. " I was man- 
ager of Fitzgerald and Moy's place in Chicago for fif- 
teen years." 

" Is that so? " said the hotel man. " How did you 
come to get out of that? " 

The figure of Hurstwood was rather surprising in 
contrast to the fact. 

" Well, by foolishness of my own. It isn't anything 
to talk about now. You could find out if you wanted 
to. I'm ' broke ' now and, if you will believe me, I 
haven't eaten anything to-day." 

The hotel man was slightly interested in this story. 
He could hardly tell what to do with such a figure, and 
yet Hurstwood's earnestness made him wish to do 
something. 

li Call Olsen," he said, turning to the clerk. 

In reply to a bell and a disappearing hall-boy, Olsen, 
the head porter, appeared. 

" Olsen," said the manager, " is there anything down- 
stairs you could find for this man to do ? I'd like to give 
him something." 

" I don't know, sir," said Olsen. " We have about 
all the help we need. I think I could find something, 
sir, though, if you like." 

" Do. Take him to the kitchen and tell Wilson to 
give him something to eat." 

"All right, sir," said Olsen. 

Hurstwood followed. Out of the manager's sight, 
the head porter's manner changed. 

" I don't know what the devil there is to do," he 
observed. 

Hurstwood said nothing. To him the big trunk 
hustler was a subject for private contempt. 

" You're to give this man something to eat," he ob- 
served to the cook. 



SISTER CARRIE 513 

The latter looked Hurstwood over, and seeing some- 
thing keen and intellectual in his eyes, said: 

" Well, sit down over there." 

Thus was Hurstwood installed in the Broadway Cen- 
tral, but not for long. He was in no shape or mood 
to do the scrub work that exists about the foundation 
of every hotel. Nothing better offering, he was set to 
aid the fireman, to work about the basement, to do any- 
thing and everything that might offer. Porters, cooks, 
firemen, clerks — all were over him. Moreover his ap- 
pearance did not please these individuals — his temper 
was too lonely — and they made it disagreeable for him. 

With the stolidity and indifference of despair, how- 
ever, he endured it all, sleeping in an attic at the roof 
of the house, eating what the cook gave him, accepting 
a few dollars a week, which he tried to save. His con- 
stitution was in no shape to endure. 

One day the following February he was sent on an 
errand to a large coal company's office. It had been 
snowing and thawing and the streets were sloppy. He 
soaked his shoes in his progress and came back feeling 
dull and weary. All the next day he felt unusually de- 
pressed and sat about as much as possible, to the irri- 
tation of those who admired energy in others. 

In the afternoon some boxes were to be moved to 
make room for new culinary supplies. He was ordered 
to handle a truck. Encountering a big box, he could 
not lift it. 

" What's the matter there ? " said the head porter. 
"Can't you handle it?" 

He was straining hard to lift it, but now he quit. 

" No," he said, weakly. 

The man looked at him and saw that he was deathly 
pale. 

" Not sick, are you ? " he asked. 

33 



514 SISTER CARRIE 

" I think I am," returned Hurstwood. 

" Well, you'd better go sit down, then." 

This he did, but soon grew rapidly worse. It seemed 
all he could do to crawl to his room, where he remained 
for a day. 

" That man Wheeler's sick," reported one of the 
lackeys to the night clerk. 

"What's the matter with him?" 

" I don't know. He's got a high fever." 

The hotel physician looked at him. 

"Better send him to Bellevue," he recommended. 
" He's got pneumonia." 

Accordingly, he was carted away. 

In three weeks the worst was over, but it was nearly 
the first of May before his strength permitted him to 
be turned out. Then he was discharged. 

No more weakly looking object ever strolled out into 
the spring sunshine than the once hale, lusty manager. 
All his corpulency had fled. His face was thin and 
pale, his hands white, his body flabby. Clothes and 
all, he weighed but one hundred and thirty-five pounds. 
Some old garments had been given him — a cheap 
brown coat and misfit pair of trousers. Also some 
change and advice. He was told to apply to the 
charities. 

Again he resorted to the Bowery lodging-house, 
brooding over where to look. From this it was but a 
step to beggary. 

"What can a man do?" he said. "I can't starve." 

His first application was in sunny Second Avenue. 
A well-dressed man came leisurely strolling toward 
him out of Stuyvesant Park. Hurstwood nerved him- 
self and sidled near. 

"Would you mind giving me ten cents?" he said, 
directly. "I'm in a position where I must ask someone." 



SISTER CARRIE 515 

The man scarcely looked at him, but fished in his vest 
pocket and took out a dime. 

" There you are," he said. 

" Much obliged," said Hurstwood, softly, but the 
other paid no more attention to him. 

Satisfied with his success and yet ashamed of his 
situation, he decided that he would only ask for twenty- 
five cents more, since that would be sufficient. He 
strolled about sizing up people, but it was long before 
just the right face and situation arrived. When he 
asked, he was refused. Shocked by this result, he took 
an hour to recover and then asked again. This time 
a nickel was given him. By the most watchful effort 
he did get twenty cents more, but it was painful. 

The next day he resorted to the same effort, expe- 
riencing a variety of rebuffs and one or two generous 
receptions. At last it crossed his mind that there was 
a science of faces, and that a man could pick the liberal 
countenance if he tried. 

It was no pleasure to him, however, this stopping of 
passers-by. He saw one man taken up for it and now 
troubled lest he should be arrested. Nevertheless, he 
went on, vaguely anticipating that indefinite something 
which is always better. 

It was with a sense of satisfaction, then, that he saw 
announced one morning the return of the Casino Com- 
pany, " with Miss Carrie Madenda." He had thought 
of her often enough in days past. How successful she 
was — how much money she must have ! Even now, 
however, it took a severe run of ill-luck to decide 
him to appeal to her. He was truly hungry before he 
said: 

" I'll ask her. She won't refuse me a few dollars." 

Accordingly, he headed for the Casino one afternoon, 
passing it several times in an effort to locate the stage 



516 SISTER CARRIE 

entrance. Then he sat in Bryant Park, a block away, 
waiting. " She can't refuse to help me a little," he kept 
saying to himself. 

Beginning with half-past six, he hovered like a sha- 
dow about the Thirty-ninth Street entrance, pretend- 
ing always to be a hurrying pedestrian and yet fearful 
lest he should miss his object. He Was slightly ner- 
vous, too, now that the eventful hour had arrived ; but 
being weak and hungry, his ability to suffer was modi- 
fied. At last he saw that the actors were beginning to 
arrive, and his nervous tension increased, until it seemed 
as if he could not stand much more. 

Once he thought he saw Carrie coming and moved 
forward, only to see that he was mistaken. 

" She can't be long, now," he said to himself, half 
fearing to encounter her and equally depressed at the 
thought that she might have gone in by another way. 
His stomach was so empty that it ached. 

Individual after individual passed him, nearly all well 
dressed, almost all indifferent. He saw coaches rolling 
by, gentlemen passingwith ladies — the evening's merri- 
ment was beginning in this region of theatres and hotels. 

Suddenly a coach rolled up and the driver jumped 
doWn to open the door. Before Hurstwood could act, 
two ladies flounced across the broad walk and disap- 
peared in the stage door. He thought he saw Carrie, 
but it was so unexpected, so elegant and far away, he 
could hardly tell. He Waited a while longer, growing 
feverish with want, and then seeing that the stage door 
no longer opened, and that a merry audience was arriv- 
ing, he concluded it must have been Carrie and turned 
away. 

" Lord," he said, hastening out of the street into 
which the more fortunate were pouring, " I've got to 
get something." 



SISTER CARRIE 517 

At that hour, when Broadway is wont to assume its 
most interesting aspect, a peculiar individual invari- 
ably took his stand at the corner of Twenty-sixth Street 
and Broadway — a spot which is also intersected by 
Fifth Avenue. This was the hour when the theatres 
were just beginning to receive their patrons. Fire 
signs announcing the night's amusements blazed on 
every hand. Cabs and carriages, their lamps gleam- 
ing like yellow eyes, pattered by. Couples and parties 
of three and four freely mingled in the common crowd, 
which poured by in a thick stream, laughing and jest- 
ing. On Fifth Avenue were loungers — a few wealthy 
strollers, a gentleman in evening dress with his lady 
on his arm, some clubmen passing from one smoking- 
room to another. Across the way the great hotels 
showed a hundred gleaming windows, their cafes and 
billiard-rooms filled with a comfortable, well-dressed, 
and pleasure-loving throng. All about was the night, 
pulsating with the thoughts of pleasure, and exhilara- 
tion — the curious enthusiasm of a great city bent upon 
finding joy in a thousand different ways. 

This unique individual was no less than an ex-soldier 
turned religionist, who, having suffered the whips and 
privations of our peculiar social system, had concluded 
that his duty to the God which he conceived lay in aid- 
ing his fellow-man. The form of aid which he chose 
to administer was entirely original with himself. It 
consisted of securing a bed for all such homeless way- 
farers as should apply to him at this particular spot, 
though he had scarcely the wherewithal to provide a 
comfortable habitation for himself. 

Taking his place amid this lightsome atmosphere, he 
would stand, his stocky figure cloaked in a great cape 
overcoat, his head protected by a broad slouch hat, 
awaiting the applicants who had in various ways 



518 SISTER CARRIE 

learned the nature of his charity. For a while he would 
stand alone, gazing like any idler upon an ever-fascinat- 
ing scene. On the evening in question, a policeman 
passing saluted him as " captain," in a friendly way. 
An urchin who had frequently seen him before, 
stopped to gaze. All others took him for nothing out 
of the ordinary, save in the matter of dress, and con- 
ceived of him as a stranger whistling and idling for 
his own amusement. 

As the first half-hour waned, certain characters ap- 
peared. Here and there in the passing crowds one 
might see, now and then, a loiterer edging interestedly 
near. A slouchy figure crossed the opposite corner and 
glanced furtively in his direction. Another came down 
Fifth Avenue to the corner of Twenty-sixth Street, 
took a general survey, and hobbled off again. Two or 
three noticeable Bowery types edged along the Fifth 
Avenue side of Madison Square, but did not venture 
over. The soldier, in his cape overcoat, walked a short 
line of ten feet at his corner, to and fro, indifferently 
whistling. 

As nine o'clock approached, some of the hubbub of 
the earlier hour passed. The atmosphere of the hotels 
was not so youthful. The air, too, was colder. On 
every hand curious figures were moving — watchers 
and peepers, without an imaginary circle, which they 
seemed afraid to enter — a dozen in all. Presently, with 
the arrival of a keener sense of cold, one figure came 
forward. It crossed Broadway from out the shadow of 
Twenty-sixth Street, and, in a halting, circuitous way, 
arrived close to the waiting figure. There was some- 
thing shamefaced or diffident about the movement, as 
if the intention were to conceal any idea of stopping 
until the very last moment. Then suddenly, close to 
the soldier, came the halt. 



SISTER CARRIE 519 

The captain looked in recognition, but there was no 
especial greeting. The, newcomer nodded slightly and 
murmured something like one who waits for gifts. The 
other simply motioned toward the edge of the walk. 

" Stand over there," he said. 

By this the spell was broken. Even while the sol- 
dier resumed his short, solemn walk, other figures shuf- 
fled forward. They did not so much as greet the 
leader, but joined the one, sniffling and hitching and 
scraping their feet. 

"Cold, ain't it?" 

" I'm glad winter's over." 

" Looks as though it might rain." 

The motley company had increased to ten. One or 
two knew each other and conversed. Others stood off 
a few feet, not wishing to be in the crowd and yet not 
counted out. They were peevish, crusty, silent, eying 
nothing in particular and moving their feet. 

There would have been talking soon, but the soldier 
gave them no chance. Counting sufficient to begin, he 
came forward. 

"Beds, eh, all of you?" 

There was a general shuffle and murmur of approval. 

"Well, line up here. I'll see what I can do. I 
haven't a cent myself." 

They fell into a sort of broken, ragged line. One 
might see, now, some of the chief characteristics by 
contrast. There was a wooden leg in the line. Hats 
were all drooping, a group that would ill become 
a second-hand Hester Street basement collection. 
Trousers were all warped and frayed at the bottom 
and coats worn and faded. In the glare of the store 
lights, some of the faces looked dry and chalky; others 
were red with blotches and puffed in the cheeks and 
under the eyes ; one or two were rawboned and reminded 



520 SISTER CARRIE 

one of railroad hands. A few spectators came near, 
drawn by the seemingly conferring group, then more and 
more, and quickly there was a pushing, gaping crowd. 
Some one in the line began to talk. 

" Silence ! " exclaimed the captain. " Now, then, 
gentlemen, these men are without beds. They have to 
have some place to sleep to-night. They can't lie out 
in the streets. I need twelve cents to put one of them 
to bed. Who will give it to me? " 

No reply. 

" Well, we'll have to wait here, boys, until some one 
does. Twelve cents isn't so very much for one man." 

" Here's fifteen," exclaimed a young man, peering 
forward with strained eyes. " It's all I can afford." 

" All right. Now I have fifteen. Step out of the 
line," and seizing one by the shoulder, the captain 
marched him off a little way and stood him up alone. 

Coming back, he resumed his place and began 
again. 

" I have three cents left. These men must be put 
to bed somehow. There are " — counting — " one, two, 
three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, 
twelve men. Nine cents more will put the next man 
to bed; give him a good, comfortable bed for the night. 
I go right along and look after that myself. Who will 
give me nine cents ? " 

One of the watchers, this time a middle-aged man, 
handed him a five-cent piece. 

" Now, I have eight cents. Four more will give this 
man a bed. Come, gentlemen. We are going very 
slow this evening. You all have good beds. How 
about these? " 

" Here you are," remarked a bystander, putting a 
coin into his hand. 

" That," said the captain, looking at the coin, " pays 



SISTER CARRIE 521 

for two beds for two men and gives me five on the next 
one. Who will give me seven cents more? " 

" I will," said a voice. 

Coming down Sixth Avenue this evening, Hurst- 
wood chanced to cross east through Twenty-sixth 
Street toward Third Avenue. He was wholly dis- 
consolate in spirit, hungry to what he deemed an al- 
most mortal extent, weary, and defeated. How should 
he get at Carrie now? It would be eleven before the 
show was over. If she came in a coach, she would go 
away in one. He would need to interrupt under most 
trying circumstances. Worst of all, he was hungry 
and weary, and at best a whole day must intervene, for 
he had not heart to try again to-night. He had no food 
and no bed. 

When he neared Broadway, he noticed the captain's 
gathering of wanderers, but thinking it to be the result 
of a street preacher or some patent medicine fakir, was 
about to pass on. However, in crossing the street to- 
ward Madison Square Park, he noticed the line of men 
whose beds were already secured, stretching out from 
the main body of the crowd. In the glare of the neigh- 
bouring electric light he recognised a type of his own 
kind — the figures whom he saw about the streets and 
in the lodging-houses, drifting in mind and body like 
himself. He wondered what it could be and turned 
back. 

There was the captain curtly pleading as before. 
He heard with astonishment and a sense of relief the 
oft-repeated words : " These men must have a bed." 
Before him was the line of unfortunates whose beds 
were yet to be had, and seeing a newcomer quietly 
edge up and take a position at the end of the line, he 
decided to do likewise. What use to contend? He 
was weary to-night. It was a simple way out of one 



522 SISTER CARRIE 

difficulty, at least. To-morrow, maybe, he would do 
better. 

Back of him, where some of those were whose beds 
were safe, a relaxed air was apparent. The strain of 
uncertainty being removed, he heard them talking with 
moderate freedom and some leaning toward sociability. 
Politics, religion, the state of the government, some news- 
paper sensations, and the more notorious facts the world 
over, found mouthpieces and auditors there. Cracked 
and husky voices pronounced forcibly upon odd matters. 
Vague and rambling observations were made in reply. 

There were squints, and leers, and some dull, ox- 
like stares from those who were too dull or too weary 
to converse. 

Standing tells. Hurstwood became more weary 
waiting. He thought he should drop soon and shifted 
restlessly from one foot to the other. At last his turn 
came. The man ahead had been paid for and gone to 
the blessed line of success. He was now first, and 
already the captain was talking for him. 

" Twelve cents, gentlemen — twelve cents puts this 
man to bed. He wouldn't stand here in the cold if he 
had any place to go." 

Hurstwood swallowed something that rose to his 
throat. Hunger and weakness had made a coward of 
him. 

" Here you are," said a stranger, handing money to 
the captain. 

Now the latter put a kindly hand on the ex-manager's 
shoulder. 

" Line up over there," he said. 

Once there, Hurstwood breathed easier. He felt as 
if the world were not quite so bad with such a good 
man in it. Others seemed to feel like himself about 
this. 



SISTER CARRIE 523 

"Captain's a great feller, ain't he?" said the man 
ahead — a little, woe-begone, helpless-looking sort of 
individual, who looked as though he had ever been the 
sport and care of fortune. 

" Yes," said Hurstwood, indifferently. 

" Huh ! there's a lot back there yet," said a man 
farther up, leaning out and looking back at the appli- 
cants for whom the captain was pleading. 

" Yes. Must be over a hundred to-night," said an- 
other. 

" Look at the guy in the cab," observed a third. 

A cab had stopped. Some gentleman in evening 
dress reached out a bill to the captain, who took it with 
simple thanks and turned away to his line. There was 
a general craning of necks as the jewel in the white shirt 
front sparkled and the cab moved off. Even the crowd 
gaped in awe. 

" That fixes up nine men for the night," said the 
captain, counting out as many of the line near him. 
" Line up over there. Now, then, there are only seven. 
I need twelve cents." 

Money came slowly. In the course of time the 
crowd thinned out to a meagre handful. Fifth Avenue, 
save for an occasional cab or foot passenger, was bare. 
Broadway was thinly peopled with pedestrians. Only 
now and then a stranger passing noticed the small group, 
handed out a coin, and went away, unheeding. 

The captain remained stolid and determined. He 
talked on, very slowly, uttering the fewest words and 
with a certain assurance, as though he could not fail. 

" Come ; I can't stay out here all night. These men are 
getting tired and cold. Some one give me four cents." 

There came a time when he said nothing at all. 
Money was handed him, and for each twelve cents he 
singled out a man and put him in the other line. Then 



524 SISTER CARRIE 

he walked up and down as before, looking at the 
ground. 

The theatres let out. Fire signs disappeared. A 
clock struck eleven. Another half-hour and he was 
down to the last two men. 

" Come, now," he exclaimed to several curious ob- 
servers ; " eighteen cents will fix us all up for the 
night. Eighteen cents. I have six. Somebody give 
me the money. Remember, I have to go over to Brook- 
lyn yet to-night. Before that I have to take these men 
down and put them to bed. Eighteen cents." 

No one responded. He walked to and fro, looking 
down for several minutes, occasionally saying softly: 
" Eighteen cents." It seemed as if this paltry sum 
would delay the desired culmination longer than all 
the rest had. Hurstwood, buoyed up slightly by the 
long line of which he was a part, refrained with an 
effort from groaning, he was so weak. 

At last a lady in opera cape and rustling skirts came 
down Fifth Avenue, accompanied by her escort. Hurst- 
wood gazed wearily, reminded by her both of Carrie 
in her new world and of the time when he had escorted 
his own wife in like manner. 

While he was gazing, she turned and, looking at the 
remarkable company, sent her escort over. He came, 
holding a bill in his fingers, all elegant and graceful. 

" Here you are," he said. 

" Thanks," said the captain, turning to the two remain- 
ing applicants. " Now we have some for to-morrow 
night," he added. 

Therewith he lined up the last two and proceeded to the 
head, counting as he went. 

" One hundred and thirty-seven," he announced. 
" Now, boys, line up. Right dress there. We won't 
be much longer about this. Steady, now." 



SISTER CARRIE 525 

He placed himself at the head and called out " For- 
ward." Hurstwood moved with the line. Across 
Fifth Avenue, through Madison Square by the wind- 
ing paths, east on Twenty-third Street, and down Third 
Avenue wound the long, serpentine company. Mid- 
night pedestrians and loiterers stopped and stared as 
the company passed. Chatting policemen, at various 
corners, stared indifferently or nodded to the leader, 
whom they had seen before. On Third Avenue they 
marched, a seemingly weary way, to Eighth Street, 
where there was a lodging-house, closed, apparently, 
for the night. They were expected, however. 

Outside in the gloom they stood, while the leader 
parleyed within. Then doors swung open and they 
were invited in with a " Steady, now." 

Some one was at the head showing rooms, so that 
there was no delay for keys. Toiling up the creaky 
stairs, Hurstwood looked back and saw the captain, 
watching; the last one of the line being included in his 
broad solicitude. Then he gathered his cloak about 
him and strolled out into the night. 

" I can't stand much of this," said Hurstwood, whose 
legs ached him painfully, as he sat down upon the 
miserable bunk in the small, lightless chamber allotted 
to him. " I've got to eat, or I'll die." 



CHAPTER XLVI 

\ 

STIRRING TROUBLED WATERS 

Playing in New York one evening on this her return, 
Carrie was putting the finishing touches to her toilet 
before leaving for the night, when a commotion near 
the stage door caught her ear. It included a familiar 
voice. 

" Never mind, now. I want to see Miss Madenda." 

" You'll have to send in your card." 

" Oh, come off! Here." 

A half-dollar was passed over, and now a knock came 
at her dressing-room door. 

Carrie opened it. 

" Well, well ! " said Drouet. " I do swear ! Why, how 
are you ? I knew that was you the moment I saw you." 

Carrie fell back a pace, expecting a most embarrass- 
ing conversation. 

" Aren't you going to shake hands with me ? Well, 
you're a dandy! That's all right, shake hands." 

Carrie put out her hand, smiling, if for nothing more 
than the man's exuberant good-nature. Though older, 
he was but slightly changed. The same fine clothes, the 
same stocky body, the same rosy countenance. 

" That fellow at the door there didn't want to let me 
in, until I paid him. I knew it was you, all right. Say, 
you've got a great show. You do your part fine. I 
knew you would. I just happened to be passing to- 
night and thought I'd drop in for a few minutes. I saw 



SISTER CARRIE 527 

your name on the programme, but I didn't remember 
it until you came on the stage. Then it struck me all 
at once. Say, you could have knocked me down with 
a feather. That's the same name you used out there 
in Chicago, isn't it? " 

" Yes," answered Carrie, mildly, overwhelmed by 
the man's assurance. 

" I knew it was, the moment I saw you. Well, how 
have you been, anyhow?" 

" Oh, very well," said Carrie, lingering in her dress- 
ing-room. She was rather dazed by the assault. " How 
have you been ? " 

"Me? Oh, fine. I'm here now." 

" Is that so ? " said Carrie. 

" Yes. I've been here for six months. I've got 
charge of a branch here." 

" How nice ! " 

"Well, when did you go on the stage, anyhow?" 
inquired Drouet. 

" About three years ago," said Carrie. 

" You don't say so ! Well, sir, this is the first I've 
heard of it. I knew you would, though. I always 
said you could act — didn't I ? " 

Carrie smiled. 

" Yes, you did," she said. 

" Well, you do look great," he said. " I never saw 
anybody improve so. You're taller, aren't you ? " 

"Me? Oh, a little, maybe." 

He gazed at her dress, then at her hair, where a be- 
coming hat was set jauntily, then into her eyes, which 
she took all occasion to avert. Evidently he expected 
to restore their old friendship at once and without 
modification. 

" Well," he said, seeing her gather up her purse, 
handkerchief, and the like, preparatory to departing, 



528 SISTER CARRIE 

" I want you to come out to dinner with me ; won't you ? 
I've got a friend out here." 

" Oh, I can't," said Carrie. " Not to-night. I have 
an early engagement to-morrow." 

" Aw, let the engagement go. Come on. I can get 
rid of him. I want to have a good talk with you." 

" No, no," said Carrie ; " I can't. You mustn't ask 
me any more. I don't care for a late dinner." 

" Well, come on and have a talk, then, anyhow." 

" Not to-night," she said, shaking her head. " We'll 
have a talk some other time." 

As a result of this, she noticed a shade of thought 
pass over his face, as if he were beginning to realise 
that things were changed. Good-nature dictated some- 
thing better than this for one who had always liked her. 

" You come around to the hotel to-morrow," she said, 
as sort of penance for error. " You can take dinner 
with me." 

" All right," said Drouet, brightening. " Where are 
you stopping ? " 

"At the Waldorf," she answered, mentioning the 
fashionable hostelry then but newly erected. 

"What time?" 

" Well, come at three," said Carrie, pleasantly. 

The next day Drouet called, but it was with no es- 
pecial delight that Carrie remembered her appoint- 
ment. However, seeing him, handsome as ever, after 
his kind, and most genially disposed, her doubts as to 
whether the dinner would be disagreeable were swept 
away. He talked as volubly as ever. 

" They put on a lot of lugs here, don't they ? " was 
his first remark. 

" Yes ; they do," said Carrie. 

Genial egotist that he was, he went at once into a 
detailed account of his own career. 



SISTER CARRIE 529 

" I'm going to have a business of my own pretty 
soon," he observed in one place. " I can get backing 
for two hundred thousand dollars." 

Carrie listened most good-naturedly, 

" Say," he said, suddenly ; " where is Hurstwood 
now? " 

Carrie flushed a little. 

" He's here in New York, I guess," she said. " I 
haven't seen him for some time." 

Drouet mused for a moment. He had not been sure 
until now that the ex-manager was not an influential 
figure in the background. He imagined not; but this 
assurance relieved him. It must be that Carrie had 
got rid of him — as well she ought, he thought. 

" A man always makes a mistake when he does any- 
thing like that," he observed. 

"Like what?" said Carrie, unwitting of what was 
coming. 

" Oh, you know," and Drouet waved her intelligence, 
as it were, with his hand. 

" No, I don't," she answered. " What do you mean ? " 

" Why that affair in Chicago — the time he left." 

"I don't know what you are talking about," said 
Carrie. Could it be he would refer so rudely to Hurst- 
wood's flight with her ? 

" Oho ! " said Drouet, incredulously. " You knew 
he took ten thousand dollars with him when he left, 
didn't you ? " 

" What ! " said Carrie. " You don't mean to say he 
stole money, do you ? " 

" Why," said Drouet, puzzled at her tone, " you knew 
that, didn't you ? " 

" Why, no," said Carrie. " Of course I didn't." 

"Well, that's funny," said Drouet. "He did, you 
know. It was in all the papers." 
34 



530 SISTER CARRIE 

" How much did you say he took? " said Carrie. 

" Ten thousand dollars. I heard he sent most of it 
back afterwards, though." 

Carrie looked vacantly at the richly carpeted floor. 
A new light was shining upon all the years since 
her enforced flight. She remembered now a hundred 
things that indicated as much. She also imagined that 
he took it on her account. Instead of hatred springing 
up there was a kind of sorrow generated. Poor fellow ! 
What a thing to have had hanging over his head all the 
time. 

At dinner Drouet, warmed up by eating and drink- 
ing and softened in mood, fancied he was winning Car- 
rie to her old-time good-natured regard for him. He 
began to imagine it would not be so difficult to enter 
into her life again, high as she was. Ah, what a prize! 
he thought. How beautiful, how elegant, how famous ! 
In her theatrical and Waldorf setting, Carrie was to 
him the all-desirable. 

" Do you remember how nervous you were that night 
at the Avery? " he asked. 

Carrie smiled to think of it. 

" I never saw anybody do better than you did then, 
Cad," he added ruefully, as he leaned an elbow on the 
table ; " I thought you and I were going to get along fine 
those days." 

" You mustn't talk that way," said Carrie, bringing 
in the least touch of coldness. 

" Won't you let me tell you " 

" No," she answered, rising. " Besides, it's time I 
was getting ready for the theatre. I'll have to leave 
you. Come, now." 

" Oh, stay a minute," pleaded Drouet. " You've got 
plenty of time." 

" No," said Carrie, gently. 



SISTER CARRIE 53 1 

Reluctantly Drouet gave up the bright table and 
followed. He saw her to the elevator and, standing 
there, said : 

" When do I see you again? " 

" Oh, some time, possibly," said Carrie. " I'll be 
here all summer. Good-night ! " 

The elevator door was open. 

" Good-night ! " said Drouet, as she rustled in. 

Then he strolled sadly down the hall, all his old long- 
ing revived, because she was now so far off. The 
merry frou-frou of the place spoke all of her. He 
thought himself hardly dealt with. Carrie, however, 
had other thoughts. 

That night it was that she passed Hurstwood, wait- 
ing at the Casino, without observing him. 

The next night, walking to the theatre, she encoun- 
tered him face to face. He was waiting, more gaunt 
than ever, determined to see her, if he had to send in 
word. At first she did not recognise the shabby, 
baggy figure. He frightened her, edging so close, a 
seemingly hungry stranger. 

" Carrie," he half whispered, " can I have a few 
words with you ? " 

She turned and recognised him on the instant. If 
there ever had lurked any feeling in her heart against 
him, it deserted her now. Still, she remembered what 
Drouet said about his having stolen the money. 

" Why, George," she said ; " what's the matter with 
you?" 

" I've been sick," he answered. " I've just got out of 
the hospital. For God's sake, let me have a little money, 
will you ? " 

" Of course," said Carrie, her lip trembling in a 
strong effort to maintain her composure. " But what's 
the matter with you, anyhow? " 



532 SISTER CARRIE 

She was opening her purse, and now pulled out all 
the bills in it — a five and two twos. 

" I've been sick, I told you," he said, peevishly, al- 
most resenting her excessive pity. It came hard to 
him to receive it from such a source. 

" Here," she said. " It's all I have with me." 

" All right," he answered, softly. " I'll give it back 
to you some day." 

Carrie looked at him, while pedestrians stared at her. 
She felt the strain of publicity. So did Hurstwood. 

" Why don't you tell me what's the matter with 
you ? " she asked, hardly knowing what to do. " Where 
are you living? " 

" Oh, I've got a room down in the Bowery," he an- 
swered. " There's no use trying to tell you here. I'm 
all right now." 

He seemed in a way to resent her kindly inquiries — 
so much better had fate dealt with her. 

" Better go on in," he said. " I'm much obliged, but 
I won't bother you any more." 

She tried to answer, but he turned away and shuffled 
off toward the east. 

For days this apparition was a drag on her soul be- 
fore it began to wear partially away. Drouet called 
again, but now he was not even seen by her. His 
attentions seemed out of place. 

" I'm out," was her reply to the boy. 

So peculiar, indeed, was her lonely, self-withdrawing 
temper, that she was becoming an interesting figure in 
the public eye — she was so quiet and reserved. 

Not long after the management decided to transfer 
the show to London. A second summer season did 
not seem to promise well here. 

" How would you like to try subduing London ? " 
asked her manager, one afternoon. 



SISTER CARRIE 533 

" It might be just the other way," said Carrie. 

" I think we'll go in June," he answered. 

In the hurry of departure, Hurstwood was forgotten. 
Both he and Drouet were left to discover that she was 
gone. The latter called once, and exclaimed at the news. 
Then he stood in the lobby, chewing the ends of his 
moustache. At last he reached a conclusion — the old 
days had gone for good. 

" She isn't so much," he said; but in his heart of hearts 
he did not believe this. 

Hurstwood shifted by curious means through a long 
summer and fall. A small job as janitor of a dance 
hall helped him for a month. Begging, sometimes 
going hungry, sometimes sleeping in the park, carried 
him over more days. Resorting to those peculiar 
charities, several of which, in the press of hungry 
search, he accidentally stumbled upon, did the rest. 
Toward the dead of winter, Carrie came back, appear- 
ing on Broadway in a new play; but he was not aware 
of it. For weeks he wandered about the city, begging, 
while the fire sign, announcing her engagement, 
blazed nightly upon the crowded street of amusements. 
Drouet saw it, but did not venture in. 

About this time Ames returned to New York. He 
had made a little success in the West, and now opened 
a laboratory in Wooster Street. Of course, he encoun- 
tered Carrie through Mrs. Vance; but there was noth- 
ing responsive between them. He thought she was 
still united to Hurstwood, until otherwise informed. 
Not knowing the facts then, he did not profess to 
understand, and refrained from comment. 

With Mrs. Vance, he saw the new play, and ex- 
pressed himself accordingly. 

" She ought not to be in comedy," he said. " I think 
she could do better than that." 



534 SISTER CARRIE 

One afternoon they met at the Vances' accidentally, 
and began a very friendly conversation. She could 
hardly tell why the one-time keen interest in him was 
no longer with her. Unquestionably, it was because 
at that time he had represented something which she 
did not have ; but this she did not understand. Success 
had given her the momentary feeling that she was now 
blessed with much of which he would approve. As a 
matter of fact, her little newspaper fame was nothing 
at all to him. He thought she could have done better, 
by far. 

" You didn't go into comedy-drama, after all ? " he 
said, remembering her interest in that form of art. 

" No," she answered ; " I haven't, so far." 

He looked at her in such a peculiar way that she 
realised she had failed. It moved her to add : " I want 
to, though." 

" I should think you would," he said. " You have 
the sort of disposition that would do well in comedy- 
drama." 

It surprised her that he should speak of disposition. 
Was she, then, so clearly in his mind? 

"Why?" she asked. 

" Well," he said, " I should judge you were rather 
sympathetic in your nature." 

Carrie smiled and coloured slightly. He was so in- 
nocently frank with her that she drew nearer in friend- 
ship. The old call of the ideal was sounding. 

" I don't know," she answered, pleased, nevertheless, 
beyond all concealment. 

" I saw your play," he remarked. " It's very good." 

" I'm glad you liked it." 

" Very good, indeed," he said, " for a comedy." 

This is all that was said at the time, owing to an in- 
terruption, but later they met again. He was sitting 



SISTER CARRIE 535 

in a corner after dinner, staring at the floor, when Carrie 
came up with another of the guests. Hard work had 
given his face the look of one who is weary. It was not 
for Carrie to know the thing in it which appealed to her. 

"All alone? "she said. 

" I was listening to the music." 

" I'll be back in a moment," said her companion, who 
saw nothing in the inventor. 

Now he looked up in her face, for she was standing 
a moment, while he sat. 

" Isn't that a pathetic strain? " he inquired, listening. 

" Oh, very," she returned, also catching it, now that 
her attention was called. 

" Sit down," he added, offering her the chair beside 
him. 

They listened a few moments in silence, touched by 
the same feeling, only hers reached her through the 
heart. Music still charmed her as in the old days. 

" I don't know what it is about music," she started 
to say, moved by the inexplicable longings which 
surged within her ; " but it always makes me feel as if 
I wanted something — I " 

" Yes," he replied ; " I know how you feel." 

Suddenly he turned to considering the peculiarity 
of her disposition, expressing her feelings so frankly. 

" You ought not to be melancholy," he said. 

He thought a while, and then went off into a seem- 
ingly alien observation which, however, accorded with 
their feelings. 

" The world is full of desirable situations, but, un- 
fortunately, we can occupy but one at a time. It 
doesn't do us any good to wring our hands over the far- 
off things." 

The music ceased and he arose, taking a standing 
position before her, as if to rest himself. 



536 SISTER CARRIE 

" Why don't you get into some good, strong comedy- 
drama? " he said. He was looking directly at her now, 
studying her face. Her large, sympathetic eyes and 
pain-touched mouth appealed to him as proofs of his 
judgment. 

" Perhaps I shall," she returned. 

" That's your field," he added. 

"Do you think so?" 

" Yes," he said ; " I do. I don't suppose you're aware 
of it, but there is something about your eyes and mouth 
which fits you for that sort of work." 

Carrie thrilled to be taken so seriously. For the 
moment, loneliness deserted her. Here was praise 
which was keen and analytical. 

" It's in your eyes and mouth," he went on abstract- 
edly. " I remember thinking, the first time I saw you, 
that there was something peculiar about your mouth. 
I thought you were about to cry." 

" How odd," said Carrie, warm with delight. This 
was what her heart craved. 

" Then I noticed that that was your natural look, 
and to-night I saw it again. There's a shadow about 
your eyes, too, which gives your face much this same 
character. It's in the depth of them, I think." 

Carrie looked straight into his face, wholly aroused. 

" You probably are not aware of it," he added. 

She looked away, pleased that he should speak thus, 
longing to be equal to this feeling written upon her 
countenance. It unlocked the door to a new desire. 

She had cause to ponder over this until they met 
again — several weeks or more. It showed her she was 
drifting away from the old ideal which had filled her 
in the dressing-rooms, of the Avery stage and there- 
after, for a long time. Why had she lost it? 

" I know why you should be a success," he said, an- 



SISTER CARRIE , 537 

other time, " if you had a more dramatic part. I've 
studied it out " 

" What is it? " said Carrie. 

" Well," he said, as one pleased with a puzzle, " the 
expression in your face is one that comes out in dif- 
ferent things. You get the same thing in a pathetic 
song, or any picture which moves you deeply. It's a 
thing the world likes to see, because it's a natural ex- 
pression of its longing." 

Carrie gazed without exactly getting the import of 
what he meant. 

" The world is always struggling to express itself," 
he went on. " Most people are not capable of voicing 
their feelings. They depend upon others. That is 
what genius is for. One man expresses their desires 
for them in music ; another one in poetry ; another one 
in a play. Sometimes nature does it in a face — it makes 
the face representative of all desire. That's what has 
happened in your case." 

He looked at her with so much of the import of the 
thing in his eyes that she caught it. At least, she 
got the idea that her look was something which repre- 
sented the world's longing. She took it to heart as a 
creditable thing, until he added : 

" That puts a burden of duty on you. It so happens 
that you have this thing. It is no credit to,you — that 
is, I mean, you might not have had it. You paid noth- 
ing to get it. But now that you have it, you must do 
something with it." 

"What?" asked Carrie. 

" I should say, turn to the dramatic field. You have 
so much sympathy and such a melodious voice. Make 
them valuable to others. It will make your powers 
endure." 

Carrie did not understand this last. All the rest 



538 SISTER CARRIE 

showed her that her comedy success was little or 
nothing. 

" What do you mean ? " she asked. 

" Why, just this. You have this quality in your 
eyes and mouth and in your nature. You can lose it, 
you know. If you turn away from it and live to satisfy 
yourself alone, it will go fast enough. The look will 
leave your eyes. Your mouth will change. Your' 
power to act will disappear. You may think they 
won't, but they will. Nature takes care of that." 

He was so interested in forwarding all good causes 
that he sometimes became enthusiastic, giving vent to 
these preachments. Something in Carrie appealed to 
him. He wanted to stir her up. 

" I know," she said, absently, feeling slightly guilty 
of neglect. 

" If I were you," he said, " I'd change." 

The effect of this was like roiling helpless waters. 
Carrie troubled over it in her rocking-chair for days. 

" I don't believe I'll stay in comedy so very much 
longer," she eventually remarked to Lola. 

" Oh, why not? " said the latter. 

" I think," she said, I can do better in a serious play." 

" What put that idea in your head ? " 

" Oh, nothing," she answered ; " I've always thought 
so." 

Still, she did nothing — grieving. It was a long way 
to this better thing — or seemed so — and comfort was 
about her ; hence the inactivity and longing. 



CHAPTER XLVII 

THE WAY OF THE BEATEN: A HARP IN THE WIND 

In the city, at that time, there were a number of 
charities similar in nature to that of the captain's, which 
Hurstwood now patronised in a like unfortunate way. 
One was a convent mission-house of the Sisters of 
Mercy in Fifteenth Street — a row of red brick family 
dwellings, before the door of which hung a plain 
wooden contribution box, on which was painted the 
statement that every noon a meal was given free to all 
those who might apply and ask for aid. This simple 
announcement was modest in the extreme, covering, 
as it did, a charity so broad. Institutions and chari- 
ties are so large and so numerous in NeW York that 
such things as this are not often noticed by the more 
comfortably situated. But to one whose mind is upon 
the matter, they grow exceedingly under inspection. 
Unless one were looking up this matter in particular, 
he could have stood at Sixth Avenue and Fifteenth 
Street for days around the noon hour and never have 
noticed that out of the vast crowd that surged along 
that busy thoroughfare there turned out, every few 
seconds, some weather-beaten, heavy-footed specimen 
of humanity, gaunt in countenance and dilapidated in 
the matter of clothes. The fact is none the less true, 
however, and the colder the da)' the more apparent it 
became. Space and a lack of culinary room in the 
mission-house, compelled an arrangement which per- 



540 SISTER CARRIE 

mitted of only twenty-five or thirty eating at one time, 
so that a line had to be formed outside and an orderly 
entrance effected. This caused a daily spectacle which, 
however, had become so common by repetition during 
a number of years that now nothing was thought of it. 
The men waited patiently, like cattle, in the coldest 
weather — waited for several hours before they could 
be admitted. No questions were asked and no service 
rendered. They ate and went away again, some of 
them returning regularly day after day the winter 
through. 

A big, motherly looking woman invariably stood guard 
at the door during the entire operation and counted the 
admissible number. The men moved up in solemn 
order. There was no haste and no eagerness dis- 
played. It was almost a dumb procession. In the bit- 
terest weather this line was to be found here. Under 
an icy wind there was a prodigious slapping of hands 
and a dancing of feet. Fingers and the features of the 
face looked as if severely nipped by the cold. A study 
of these men in, broad light proved them to be nearly 
all of a type. They belonged to the class that sit -on 
the park benches during the endurable days and sleep 
upon them during the summer nights. They frequent 
the Bowery and those down-at-the-heels East Side 
streets where poor clothes and shrunken features are 
not singled out as curious. They are the men who are 
in the lodging-house sitting-rooms during bleak and 
bitter weather and who swarm about the cheaper shel- 
ters which only open at six in a number of the lower 
East Side streets. Miserable food, ill-timed and greed- 
ily eaten, had played havoc with bone and muscle. They 
were all pale, flabby, sunken-eyed, hollow-chested, with 
eyes that glinted and shone and lips that were a sickly 
red by contrast. Their hair was but half attended to, their 



SISTER CARRIE 541 

ears anaemic in hue, and their shoes broken in leather 
and run down at heel and toe. They were of the class 
which simply floats and drifts, every wave of people 
washing up one, as breakers do driftwood upon a 
stormy shore. 

For nearly a quarter of a century, in another section 
of the city, Fleischmann, the baker, had given a loaf of 
bread to any one who would come for it to the side 
door of his restaurant at the corner of Broadway and 
Tenth Street, at midnight. Every night during twenty 
years about three hundred men had formed in line and 
at the appointed time marched past the doorway, 
picked their loaf from a great box placed just outside, 
and vanished again into the night. From the begin- 
ning to the present time there had been little change in 
the character or number of these men. There were 
two or three figures that had grown familiar to those 
who had seen this little procession pass year after year. 
Two of them had missed scarcely a night in fifteen 
years. There were about forty, more or less, regular 
callers. The remainder of the line was formed of 
strangers. In times of panic and unusual hardships 
there were seldom more than three hundred. In times 
of prosperity, when little is heard of the unemployed, 
there were seldom less. The same number, winter and 
summer, in storm or calm, in good times and bad, held 
this melancholy midnight rendezvous at Fleischmann's 
bread box. 

At both of these two charities, during the severe 
winter which was now on, Hurstwood was a frequent 
visitor. On one occasion it was peculiarly cold, and 
finding no comfort in begging about the streets, he 
waited until noon before seeking this free offering to 
the poor. Already, at eleven o'clock of this morning, 
several such as he had shambled forward out of Sixth 



542 SISTER CARRIE 

Avenue, their thin clothes flapping and fluttering in 
the wind. They leaned against the iron railing which 
protects the walls of the Ninth Regiment Armory, 
which fronts upon that section of Fifteenth Street, hav- 
ing come early in order to be first in. Having an hour to 
wait, they at first lingered at a respectful distance; but 
others coming up, they moved closer in order to protect 
their right of precedence. To this collection Hurstwood 
came up from the west out of Seventh Avenue and 
stopped close to the door, nearer than all the others. 
Those who had been waitingbefore him, but farther away, 
now drew near, and by a certain stolidity of demeanour, 
no words being spoken, indicated that they were first. 

Seeing the opposition to his action, he looked sullenly 
along the line, then moved out, taking his place at the 
foot. When order had been restored, the animal feel- 
ing of opposition relaxed. 

" Must be pretty near noon," ventured one. 

" It is," said another. " I've been waiting nearly an 
hour." 

" Gee, but it's cold ! " 

They peered eagerly at the door, where all must 
enter. A grocery man drove up and carried in several 
baskets of eatables. This started some words upon 
grocery men and the cost of food in general. 

" I see meat's gone up," said one. 

" If there wuz war, it would help this country a lot." 

The line was growing rapidly. Already there were 
fifty or more, and those at the head, by their de- 
meanour, evidently congratulated themselves upon not 
having so long to wait as those at the foot. There was 
much jerking of heads, and looking down the line. 

" It don't matter how near you get to the front, so 
long as you're in the first twenty-five," commented one 
of the first twenty-five, " You all go in together." 



SISTER CARRIE 543 

" Humph ! " ejaculated Hurstwood, who had been so 
sturdily displaced. 

" This here Single Tax is the thing," said another. 
" There ain't going to be no order till it comes." 

For the most part there was silence ; gaunt men shuf- 
fling, glancing, and beating their arms. 

At last the door opened and the motherly-looking sis- 
ter appeared. She only looked an order. Slowly the 
line moved up and, one by one, passed in, until twenty- 
five were counted. Then she interposed a stout arm, and 
the line halted, with six men on the steps. Of these the 
ex-manager was one. Waiting thus, some talked, some 
ejaculated concerning the misery of it; some brooded, 
as did Hurstwood. At last he was admitted, and, hav- 
ing eaten, came away, almost angered because of his 
pains in getting it. 

At eleven o'clock of another evening, perhaps two 
weeks later, he was at the midnight offering of a loaf — 
waiting patiently. It had been an unfortunate day 
with him, but now he took his fate with a touch of 
philosophy. If he could secure no supper, or was 
hungry late in the evening, here was a place he could- 
come. A few minutes before twelve, a great box of 
bread was pushed out, and exactly on the hour a portly, 
round-faced German took position by it, calling 
" Ready." The whole line at once moved forward, 
each taking his loaf in turn and going his separate way. 
On this occasion, the ex-manager ate his as he went, 
plodding the dark streets in silence to his bed. 

By January he had about concluded that the game 
was up with him. Life had always seemed a precious 
thing, but now constant want and weakened vitality 
had made the charms of earth rather dull and incon- 
spicuous. Several times, when fortune pressed most 
harshly, he thought lie would end his troubles ; but with 



544 SISTER CARRIE 

a change of weather, or the arrival of a quarter or a 
dime, his mood would change, and he would wait. 
Each day he would find some old paper lying about 
and look into it, to see if there was any trace of Carrie, 
but all summer and fall he had looked in vain. Then 
he noticed that his eyes were beginning to hurt him, 
and this ailment rapidly increased until, in the dark 
chambers of the lodgings he frequented, he did not 
attempt to read. Bad and irregular eating was weaken- 
ing every function of his body. The one recourse left him 
was to doze when a place offered and he could get the 
money to occupy it. 

He was beginning to find, in his wretched clothing 
and meagre state of body, that people took him for a 
chronic type of bum and beggar. Police hustled him 
along, restaurant and lodging-house keepers turned 
him out promptly the moment he had his due; pedes- 
trians waved him off. He found it more and more 
difficult to get anything from anybody. 

At last he admitted to himself that the game was up. 
It was after a long series of appeals to pedestrians, in 
which he had been refused and refused — every one 
hastening from contact. 

" Give me a little something, will you, mister ? " he 
said to the last one. " For God's sake, do ; I'm 
starving." 

" Aw, get out," said the man, who happened to be a 
common type himself. " You're no good. I'll give you 
nawthin'." 

Hurstwood put his hands, red from cold, down in his 
pockets. Tears came into his eyes. 

" That's right," he said ; " I'm no good now. I was 
all right. I had money. I'm going to quit this," and, 
with death in his heart, he started down toward the 
Bowery. People had turned on the gas before and died ; 



SISTER CARRIE 545 

why shouldn't he? He remembered a lodging-house 
where there were little, close rooms, with gas-jets in 
them, almost pre-arranged, he thought, for what he 
wanted to do, which rented for fifteen cents. Then he 
remembered that he had no fifteen cents. 

On the way he met a comfortable-looking gentleman, 
coming, clean-shaven, out of a fine barber shop. 

"Would you mind giving me a little something?" 
he asked this man boldly. 

The gentleman looked him over and fished for a dime. 
Nothing but quarters were in his pocket. 

" Here," he said, handing him one, to be rid of him. 
" Be off, now." 

Hurstwood moved on, wondering. The sight of the 
large, bright coin pleased him a little. He remembered 
that he was hungry and that he could get a bed for ten 
cents. With this, the idea of death passed, for the 
time being, out of his mind. It was only when he 
could get nothing but insults that death seemed worth 
while. 

One day, in the middle of the winter, the sharpest 
spell of the season set in. It broke grey and cold in the 
first day, and on the second snowed. Poor luck pursu- 
ing him, he had secured but ten cents by nightfall, and 
this he had spent for food. At evening he found him- 
self at the Boulevard and Sixty-seventh Street, where 
he finally turned his face Bowery-ward. Especially 
fatigued because of the wandering propensity which 
had seized him in the morning, he now half dragged 
his wet feet, shuffling the soles upon the sidewalk. An 
old, thin coat was turned up about his red ears — his 
cracked derby hat was pulled down until it turned them 
outward. His hands were in his pockets. 

" I'll just go down Broadway," he said to himself. 

When he reached Forty-second Street, the fire signs 

35 



546 SISTER CARRIE 

were already blazing brightly. Crowds were hastening 
to dine. Through bright windows, at every corner, 
might be seen gay companies in luxuriant restaurants. 
There were coaches and crowded cable cars. 

In his weary and hungry state, he should never have 
come here. The contrast was too sharp. Even he was 
recalled keenly to better things. 

" What's the use ? " he thought. " It's all up with 
me. I'll quit this." 

People turned to look after him, so uncouth was his 
shambling figure. Several officers followed him with 
their eyes, to see that he did not beg of anybody. 

Once he paused in an aimless, incoherent sort of way 
and looked through the windows of an imposing res- 
taurant, before which blazed a fire sign, and through 
the large, plate windows of which could be seen the 
red and gold decorations, the palms, the white napery, 
and shining glassware, and, above all, the comfortable 
crowd. Weak as his mind had become, his hunger 
was sharp enough to show the importance of this. He 
stopped stock still, his frayed trousers soaking in the 
slush, and peered foolishly in. 

" Eat," he mumbled. " That's right, eat. Nobody 
else wants any." 

Then his voice dropped even lower, and his mind half 
lost the fancy it had. 

" It's mighty cold," he said. " Awful cold." 

At Broadway and Thirty-ninth Street was blazing, 
in incandescent fire, Carrie's name. " Carrie Ma- 
denda," it read, "and the Casino Company." All the 
wet, snowy sidewalk was bright with this radiated fire. 
It was so bright that it attracted Hurstwood's gaze. 
He looked up, and then at a large, gilt-framed poster- 
board, on which was a fine lithograph of Carrie, life- 
size. 



SISTER CARRIE 547 

Hurstwood gazed at it a moment, snuffling and 
hunching one shoulder, as if something were scratching 
him. He was so run down, however, that his mind was 
not exactly clear. 

" That's you," he said at last, addressing her. 
"Wasn't good- enough for you, was I? Huh!" 

He lingered, trying to think logically. This was no 
longer possible with him. 

" She's got it," he said, incoherently, thinking of 
money. " Let her give me some." 

He started around to the side door. Then he forgot 
what he was going for and paused, pushing his hands 
deeper to warm the wrists. Suddenly it returned. 
The stage door ! That was it. 

He approached that entrance and went in. 

"Well?" said the attendant, staring at him. See- 
ing him pause, he went over and shoved him. " Get 
out of here," he said. 

" I want to see Miss Madenda," he said. 

" You do, eh? " the other said, almost tickled at the 
spectacle. " Get out of here," and he shoved him 
again. Hurstwood had no strength to resist. 

" I want to see Miss Madenda," he tried to explain, 
even as he was being hustled away. " I'm all right. 
I " 

The man gave him a last push and closed the door. 
As he did so, Hurstwood slipped and fell in the snow. 
It hurt him, and some vague sense of shame returned. 
He began to cry and swear foolishly. 

" God damned dog! " he said. " Damned old cur," 
wiping the slush from his worthless coat. " I — I hired 
such people as you once." 

Now a fierce feeling against Carrie welled up — just 
one fierce, angry thought before the whole thing 
slipped out of his mind. 



548 SISTER CARRIE 

" She owes me something to eat," he said. " She 
owes it to me." 

Hopelessly he turned back into Broadway again and 
slopped onward and away, begging, crying, losing 
track of his thoughts, one after another, as a mind de- 
cayed and disjointed is wont to do. 

It was truly a wintry evening, a few days later, when 
his one distinct mental decision was reached. Already, 
at four o'clock, the sombre hue of night was thickening 
the air. A heavy snow was falling — a fine picking, 
whipping snow, borne forward by a swift wind in long, 
thin lines. The streets were bedded with it — six inches 
of cold, soft carpet, churned to a dirty brown by the 
crush of teams and the feet of men. Along Broadway 
men picked their way in ulsters and umbrellas. Along 
the Bowery, men slouched through it with collars and 
hats pulled over their ears. In the former thorough- 
fare business men and travellers were making for com- 
fortable hotels. In the latter, crowds on cold errands 
shifted past dingy stores, in the deep recesses of which 
lights were already gleaming. There were early lights 
in the cable cars, whose usual clatter was reduced by 
the mantle about the wheels. The whole city was muf- 
fled by this fast-thickening mantle. 

In her comfortable chambers at the Waldorf, Carrie 
was reading at this time " Pere Goriot," which Ames had 
recommended to her. It was so strong, and Ames's 
mere recommendation had so aroused her interest, that 
she caught nearly the full sympathetic significance of 
it. For the first time, it was being borne in upon her 
how silly and worthless had been her earlier reading, 
as a whole. Becoming wearied, however, she yawned 
and came to the window, looking out upon the old 
winding procession of carriages rolling up Fifth 
Avenue. 



SISTER CARRIE 549 

" Isn't it bad ? " she observed to Lola. 

" Terrible ! " said that little lady, joining her. " I 
hope it snows enough to go sleigh riding." 

" Oh, dear," said Carrie, with whom the sufferings 
of Father Goriot were still keen. " That's all you think 
of. Aren't you sorry for the people who haven't any- 
thing to-night ? " 

" Of course I am," said Lola ; " but what can I do ? 
I haven't anything." 

Carrie smiled. 

" You wouldn't care, if you had," she returned. 

" I would, too," said Lola. " But people never gave 
me anything when I was hard up." 

" Isn't it just awful? " said Carrie, studying the win- 
ter's storm. ' 

" Look at that man over there," laughed Lola, who 
had caught sight of some one falling down. " How 
sheepish men look when they fall, don't they?" 

" We'll have to take a coach to-night," answered 
Carrie, absently. 

In the lobby of the Imperial, Mr. Charles Drouet was 
just arriving, shaking the snow from a very handsome 
ulster. Bad weather had driven him home early and 
stirred his desire for those pleasures which shut out the 
snow and gloom of life. A good dinner, the company 
of a young woman, and an evening at the theatre were 
the chief things for him. 
f " Why, hello, Harry ! " he said, addressing a lounger 
in one of the comfortable lobby chairs. " How are 
\ you ? " 

" Oh, about six and six," said the other. 

" Rotten weather, isn't it ? " 

" Well, I should say," said the other. " I've been 
just sitting here thinking where I'd go to-night." 



550 SISTER CARRIE 

" Come along with me," said Drouet. " I can intro- 
duce you to something dead swell." 

"Who is it?" said the other. 

" Oh, a couple of girls over here in Fortieth Street. 
We could have a dandy time. I was just looking for 
you." 

" Supposing we get 'em and take 'em out to dinner? " 

" Sure," said Drouet. et Wait'll I go upstairs and 
change my clothes." 

" Well, I'll be in the barber shop," said the other. 
" I want to get a shave." 

" All right," said Drouet, creaking off in his good 
shoes toward the elevator. The old butterfly was as 
light on the wing as ever. 

On an incoming vestibuled Pullman, speeding at forty 
miles an hour through the snow of the evening, were 
three others, all related. 

" First call for dinner in the dining-car," a Pullman 
servitor was announcing, as he hastened through the 
aisle in snow-white apron and jacket. 

"i don't believe I want to play any more," said the 
youngest, a black-haired beauty, turned supercilious by 
fortune, as she pushed a euchre hand away from her. 

"Shall we go into dinner?" inquired her husband, 
who was all that fine raiment can make. 

" Oh, not yet," she answered. " I don't want to play 
any more, though." 

" Jessica," said her mother, who was also a study in 
what good clothing can do for age, " push that pin down 
in your tie — it's coming up." 

Jessica obeyed, incidentally touching at her lovely 
hair and looking at a little jewel-faced watch. Her 
husband studied her, for beauty, even cold, is fascinat- 
ing from one point of view. 



SISTER CARRIE 55 1 

" Well, we won't have much more of this weather," 
he said. " It only takes two weeks to get to Rome." 

Mrs. Hurstwood nestled comfortably in her corner 
and smiled. It was so nice to be the mother-in-law of a 
rich young man — one whose financial state had borne 
her personal inspection. 

"Do you suppose the boat will sail promptly?" 
asked Jessica, " if it keeps up like this? " 

" Oh, yes," answered her husband. " This won't 
make any difference." 

Passing down the aisle came a very fair-haired ban- 
ker's son, also of Chicago, who had long eyed this 
supercilious beauty. Even now he did not hesitate to 
glance at her, and she was conscious of it. With a 
specially conjured show of indifference, she turned her 
pretty face wholly away. It was not wifely modesty 
at all. By so much was her pride satisfied. 

At this moment Hurstwood stood before a dirty four- 
story building in a side street quite near the Bowery, 
whose one-time coat of buff had been changed by soot 
and rain. He mingled with a crowd of men — a crowd 
which had been, and was still, gathering by degrees. 

It began with the approach of two or three, who hung 
about the closed wooden doors and beat their feet to 
keep them warm. They had on faded derby hats with 
dents in them. Their misfit coats were heavy with 
melted snow and turned up at the collars. Their trou- 
sers were mere bags, frayed at the bottom and wob- 
bling over big, soppy shoes, torn at the sides and worn 
almost to shreds. They made no effort to go in, but 
shifted ruefully about, digging their hands deep in their 
pockets and leering at the crowd and the increasing 
lamps. With the minutes, increased the number. There 
were old men with grizzled beards and sunken eyes, 



552 SISTER CARRIE 

men who were comparatively young but shrunken 
by diseases, men who were middle-aged. None were 
fat. There was a face in the thick of the collection 
which was as white as drained veal. There was an- 
other red as brick. Some came with thin, rounded 
shoulders, others with wooden legs, still others with 
frames so lean that clothes only flapped about them. 
There were great ears, swollen noses, thick lips, and, 
above all, red, blood-shot eyes. Not a normal, healthy 
face in the wkole mass; not a straight figure; not a 
straightforward, steady glance. 

In the drive of the wind and sleet they pushed in on 
one another. There were wrists, unprotected by coat 
or pocket, which were red with cold. There were ears, 
half covered by every conceivable semblance of a hat, 
which still looked stiff and bitten. In the snow they 
shifted, now one foot, now another, almost rocking in 
unison. 

With the growth of the crowd about the door came 
a murmur. It was not conversation, but a running 
comment directed at any one in general. It contained 
oaths and slang phrases. 

" By damn, I wish they'd hurry up." 

" Look at the copper watchin'." 

" Maybe it ain't winter, nuther ! " 

" I wisht I was in Sing Sing." 

Now a sharper lash of wind cut down and they hud- 
dled closer. It was an edging, shifting, pushing 
throng. There was no anger, no pleading, no threat- 
ening words. It was all sullen endurance, unlightened 
by either wit or good fellowship. 

A carriage went jingling by with some reclining 
figure in it. One of the men nearest the door saw it. 

f* Look at the bloke ridin'." 

" He ain't so cold." 



SISTER CARRIE 553 

" Eh, eh, eh ! " yelled another, the carriage having 
long since passed out of hearing. 

Little by little the night crept on. Along the walk 
a crowd turned out on its way home. Men and shop- 
girls went by with quick steps. The cross-town cars 
began to be crowded. The gas lamps were blazing, 
and every window bloomed ruddy with a steady flame. 
Still the crowd hung about the door, unwavering. 

" Ain't they ever goin' to open up ? " queried a hoarse 
voice, suggestively. 

This seemed to renew the general interest in the 
closed door, and many gazed in that direction. They 
looked at it as dumb brutes look, as dogs paw and 
whine and study the knob. They shifted and blinked 
and muttered, now a curse, now a comment. Still 
they waited and still the snow whirled and cut them 
with biting flakes. On the old hats and peaked shoul- 
ders it was piling. It gathered in little heaps and curves 
and no one brushed it off. In the centre of the crowd 
the warmth and steam melted it, and water trickled off 
hat rims and down noses, which the owners could not 
reach to scratch. On the outer rim the piles remained 
unmelted. Hurstwood, who could not get in the centre, 
stood with head lowered to the weather and bent his 
form. 

A light appeared through the transom overhead. It 
sent a thrill of possibility through the watchers. There 
was a murmur of recognition. At last the bars grated 
inside and the crowd pricked up its ears. Footsteps shuf- 
fled within and it murmured again. Some one called : 
" Slow up there, now," and then the door opened. It 
was push and jam for a minute, with grim, beast silence 
to prove its quality, and then it melted inward, like 
logs floating, and disappeared. There were wet hats 
and wet shoulders, a cold, shrunken, disgruntled mass, 



554 SISTER CARRIE 

pouring in between bleak walls. It was just six o'clock 
and there was supper in every hurrying pedestrian's 
face. And yet no supper was provided here — nothing 
but beds. 

Hurstwood laid down his fifteen cents and crept off 
with weary steps to his allotted room. It was a dingy 
affair — wooden, dusty, hard. A small gas-jet fur- 
nished sufficient light for so rueful a corner. 

" Hm ! " he said, clearing his throat and locking the 
door. 

Now he began leisurely to take off his clothes, but 
stopped first with his coat, and tucked it along the 
crack under the door. His vest he arranged in the 
same place. His old wet, cracked hat he laid softly 
upon the table. Then he pulled off his shoes and lay 
down. 

It seemed as if he thought a while, for now he arose 
and turned the gas out, standing calmly in the black- 
ness, hidden from view. After a few moments, in which 
he reviewed nothing, but merely hesitated, he turned 
the gas on again, but applied no match. Even then 
he stood there, hidden wholly in that kindness which 
is night, while the uprising fumes filled the room. 
When the odour reached his nostrils, he quit his atti- 
tude and fumbled for the bed. 

"What's the use?" he said, weakly, as he stretched 
himself to rest. 

And now Carrie had attained that which in the be- 
ginning semed life's object, or, at least, such fraction of 
it as human beings ever attain of their original desires. 
She could look about on her gowns and carriage, her 
furniture and bank account. Friends there were, as 
the world takes it — those who would bow and smile in 
acknowledgment of her success. For these she had 



SISTER CARRIE 555 

once craved. Applause there was, and publicity — once 
far off, essential things, but now grown trivial and in- 
different. Beauty also — her type of loveliness — and 
yet she was lonely. In her rocking-chair she sat, when 
not otherwise engaged — singing and dreaming. 

Thus in life there is ever the intellectual and the 
emotional nature — the mind that reasons, and the 
mind that feels. Of one come the men of action — gen- 
erals and statesmen; of the other, the poets and dream- 
ers — artists all. 

As harps in the wind, the latter respond to every 
breath of fancy, voicing in their moods all the ebb and 
flow of the ideal. 

Man has not yet comprehended the dreamer any 
more than he has the ideal. For him the laws and 
morals of the world are unduly severe. Ever hearken- 
ing to the sound of beauty, straining for the flash of its 
distant wings, he watches to follow, wearying his feet 
in travelling. So watched Carrie, so followed, rocking 
and singing. 

And it must be remembered that reason had little 
part in this. Chicago dawning, she saw the city offer- 
ing more of loveliness than she had ever known, and 
instinctively, by force of her moods alone, clung to it. 
In fine raiment and elegant surroundings, men seemed 
to be contented. Hence, she drew near these things. 
Chicago, New York; Drouet, Hurstwood; the world 
of fashion and the world of stage — these were but in- 
cidents. Not them, but that which they represented, 
she longed for. Time proved the representation false. 

Oh, the tangle of human life ! How dimly as yet 
we see. Here was Carrie, in the beginning poor, un- 
sophisticated, emotional ; responding with desire to 
everything most lovely in life, yet finding herself 
turned as by a wall. Laws to say : " Be allured, if you 



556 SISTER CARRIE 

will, by everything lovely, but draw not nigh unless by 
righteousness." Convention to say : " You shall not 
better your situation save by honest labour." If honest 
labour be unremunerative and difficult to endure; if it 
be the long, long road which never reaches beauty, but 
wearies the feet and the heart; if the drag to follow 
beauty be such that one abandons the admired way, 
taking rather the despised path leading to her dreams 
quickly, who shall cast the first stone? Not evil, but 
longing for that which is better, more often directs the 
steps of the erring. Not evil, but goodness more often 
allures the feeling mind unused to reason. 

Amid the tinsel and shine of her state walked Carrie, 
unhappy. As when Drouet took her, she had thought : 
" Now am I lifted into that which is best " ; as when 
Hurstwood seemingly offered her the better way: 
" Now am I happy." But since the world goes its way 
past all who will not partake of its folly, she now found 
herself alone. Her purse was open to him whose need 
was greatest. In her walks on Broadway, she no 
longer thought of the elegance of the creatures who 
passed her. Had they more of that peace and beauty 
which glimmered afar off, then were they to be envied. 

Drouet abandoned his claim and was seen no more. 
Of Hurstwood's death she was not even aware. A 
slow, black boat setting out from the pier at Twenty- 
seventh Street upon its weekly errand bore, with many 
others, his nameless body to the Potter's Field. 

Thus passed all that was of interest concerning these 
twain in their relation to her. Their influence upon 
her life is explicable alone by the nature of her long- 
ings. Time was when both represented for her all that 
was most potent in earthly success. They were the 
personal representatives of a state most blessed to at- 
tain — the titled ambassadors of comfort and peace, 



SISTER CARRIE 557 

aglow with their credentials. It is but natural that 
when the world which they represented no longer al- 
lured her, its ambassadors should be discredited. 
Even had Hurstwood returned in his original beauty 
and glory, he could not now have allured her. She had 
learned that in his world, as in her own present state, 
was not happiness. 

Sitting alone, she was now an illustration of the 
devious ways by which one who feels, rather than rea- 
sons, may be led in the pursuit of beauty. Though 
often disillusioned, she was still waiting for that hal- 
cyon day when she should be led forth among dreams 
become real. Ames had pointed out a farther step, but 
on and on beyond that, if accomplished, would lie 
others for her. It was forever to be the pursuit of 
that radiance of delight which tints the distant hill- 
tops of the world. 

Oh, Carrie, Carrie! Oh, blind strivings of the 
human heart! Onward, onward, it saith, and where 
beauty leads, there it follows. Whether it be the tinkle 
of a lone sheep bell o'er some quiet landscape, or the 
glimmer of beauty in sylvan places, or the show of soul 
in some passing eye, the heart knows and makes an- 
swer, following. It is when the feet weary and hope 
seems vain that the heartaches and the longings arise. 
Know, then, that for you is neither surfeit nor content. 
In your rocking-chair, by your window dreaming, shall 
you long, alone. In your rocking-chair, by your win- 
dow, shall you dream such happiness as you may never 
feel. 

THE END